Matthew G. Leonard (CAS ’84) was admired for many things in his life, but those who knew him say nothing gained their love and respect more than his kindness and compassion.

“Everyone felt warmly towards him . you couldn’t not like him,” said Karen Prosky, a former co-worker at the law firm of Willkie, Farr and Gallagher. “He was so good he was like a saint.”

Leonard, 38, worked as director of litigation for Cantor Fitzgerald, whose offices were located between the 101st and 105th floors of the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

Friends described Leonard as extremely close to his family. A Brooklyn resident, Matt was devoted to his wife, Yolanda Cerda Leonard. They met while working together in the offices of Willkie, Farr and Gallagher. Their daughter, Christina, was born earlier this year.

Matt Leonard was known as an active member of his Catholic community. He came to Georgetown from Regis High School, a Jesuit high school in New York in 1980. After graduating from Georgetown in 1984, he graduated from Columbia Law School in 1987 and began his law career as a clerk in the chambers of Judge Peter Leisure.

“He had very good qualifications; he was an outstanding student,” Leisure said. “He was extremely thoughtful, the kind of person you’d want as a friend. He was probably one of the kindest law clerks I ever had … it is a loss beyond the measure of comprehension.”

Leonard played regular games of basketball with his co-workers and enjoyed cooking. Others remember him as a talented singer who was known to perform Christmas carols in the hallways of the offices where he worked and even with the homeless on the streets of New York.

He was a board member of MFY Legal Services, an organization devoted to providing representation to underprivileged New Yorkers. His extensive pro-bono record reflects a man described as generous and compassionate by his friends.

“Matt never had a foul or unpleasant word to say about anyone . it was an unbelievable blessing to have known him, he is missed very much,” former co-worker Gloria Royder said.

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