In Memory: Dennis Leonards

Man wearing overalls and straw hat holds sack of rice in front of "City of Rayne" sign
Dennis Leonards (far left) at rice threshing demonstration
Jul 16, 2020
USA Rice extends condolences to the family and friends of Dennis Louis Leonards, who passed away July 13, at the age of 84.  He is survived by his wife, Phyllis, seven children, 17 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren.

Honored in the farming community on both local and national levels, Dennis was named Farmer of the Year in 1992 in the very first edition of Rice Farming Magazine.  In 1995, he was the International Rice Festival Farmer of the Year, and in 1999 he was named Farmer of the Year at the National Conservation Tillage Cotton and Rice Conference.  Dennis was a pioneer in conservation tillage of rice, now a widely used and accepted practice.  

“We grew up farming next to Mr. Leonards, and to me, he was someone you could look up to, not only as a farmer, but as a husband and father to his family, as well as a father figure and friend to us all,” said Bryan “Buck” Leonards, a fellow rice farmer from Acadia Parish.  “He was an integral part of our community, a respected leader in the rice industry, known for his community and church involvement, and a fixture at our local festivals.  From the International Rice Festival to the Germanfest at Roberts Cove, he made sure the history of early rice farming was preserved and shared with the younger generation through the thrashing demonstrations he led each year.  He will be truly missed, but his legacy and knowledge will carry on through his sons and the many lives he touched, including mine.”

Due to current COVID social distancing restrictions, there will be a private visitation for immediate family only.  However, the family requests that you join them Monday evening at 6 p.m. in praying the rosary from your homes.  Burial will be in St. Leo Cemetery in Roberts Cove, Louisiana, following the Mass of Christian Burial.