HAMILTON — How does a perfect story end so tragically and abruptly?
The life of Robert Anthony Leonardi was just that, perfect. He was born June 6, 2010, in Hamilton to Alyce Yoakam-Leonardi and Philip Leonardi. He had a gleam in his eye and an infectious giggle that lured young and old. Robert A. was curious in both senses of the word. He enjoyed the challenge of a puzzle and he liked his own form of expression through jokes, riddles and drawings. His #1 target AND fan was his older sister, Meryn. Though boys grow fast and girls quickly mature as time passes, the bond between the two of them only strengthened. As parents we could see a future of adventures cut tragically short on a Sunday afternoon. As teachers we build students out of broken pieces, but on that Sunday it became the job for a higher being in a much higher place for our son.
The tragic close to Robert’s book of life was only that, an ending. The story of those nine years involved baseball, basketball, soccer, flag football, swimming, hiking, fishing and skiing. All, by any parent’s book, he excelled at. His true measure came from highest percentile scores in reading and mathematics. He was equally proud to be a mathlete and to score the winning touchdown in the flag football championship game. We were so proud of his development of friendships within both academics and athletics. He liked the vibe of the UM Grizzlies, the Missoula Osprey, and professional baseball parks across America, having just returned from a family trip to Denver where Charlie Blackmon immediately became his favorite player. Tom Brady and the Patriots were “gods” to young Robert.
Robert would have entered the third grade at Hamilton’s Daly School this fall. He loved school and his teachers but also had a soft spot for animals belonging to others, since his parents are “non-pet” people. When all hell broke loose at daycare, Robert would be sitting quietly, petting a cat.
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Robert Anthony leaves a host of fans in his passing: parents Phil and Alyce, sister Meryn (his partner in crime), maternal grandparents Mark and Joy Yoakam, paternal grandparents Robert V. and Fern Leonardi, maternal great-grandmother Alice Schroeber, uncles and aunts Joe and Mary Wetzsteon with their children Blaine, Kara and her fiancé Chris, Karen and Darren Gipe with their children Ashley, Megan and Nolan, Paul and Jennie Yoakam with their children Myles, Mayzie and McKay, and finally his older brother, Devin Leonardi — each worshiping the ground the other traversed.
This tragic ending is really a warning to parents and friends — certainly protect your children at all times, to the best of your abilities. However, please read together each night, find room in your life to hold a pet, play catch after a tiring shift at work. Allow your child the time to develop friends like Robert’s: Otto, Greta, Rigby, Cooper, Ryan, Garrett, Wyatt, Reece, Sierra, Morgan, Finn, Lila and so many others too numerous to count and name. Do these things and you will always have memories to fall back on in the absolute toughest of times.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 11, 2019, at the Hamilton Middle School Gym. Private interment will take place at Riverview Cemetery in Hamilton. Condolences may be left for the family at dalyleachchapel.com.