Lois Leonard

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Lois Leonard (born c. 1933) is the widow of Vietnam casualty and Medal of Honor recipient Matthew Leonard.

Lois was Leonard's grade school sweetheart and married him before he joined the United States Army and moved to Birmingham. They had five children and rented a house in East Avondale.

After her husband's heroic death in Vietnam in 1967, Lois flew to Virginia to accept his Medal of Honor from President Lyndon Johnson. In accordance with his wishes, she took out a Veterans Administration loan to purchase the home where they lived and kept up with payments while raising the children on his disability income. In her later years she suffered from diabetes, severe asthma and chronic bronchitis.

In 2000 she sought help from the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MPOH) to move her husband's remains from the overgrown and unkempt Shadow Lawn Memorial Gardens to the Fort Mitchell National Cemetery in Russell County.

In 2003 Leonard faced eviction from her home. Though she had paid off the initial mortgage, she had taken out a home equity loan in 2000 to make long-overdue repairs. After the roof was replaced and bathroom plumbing fixed, she found she needed to rewire the house. She fell behind in her payments and faced foreclosure. Once again the MPOH and Congressional Medal of Honor Society came to her aid, negotiating a brief reprieve and working to raise enough money to repurchase her note. They set up a donation fund at SouthTrust Bank and together collected over $60,000, enough to purchase the deed as well as to complete necessary repairs such as replacing the water heater and furnace and installing air conditioning. Leonard reclaimed her home on the 36th anniversary of her husband's death.

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