The mother and family of Mary Leonard never forgot.
“It is still on our minds.” said Jerry Leonard, whose sister Mary Leonard went missing in August 1979 with her boyfriend Ricky Beard.
Their bodies were found six years later in a field in Cuyahoga Falls and the case remains one of the most publicized unsolved murders in Akron history.
Calling hours for Gloria Leonard, 87, mother of Mary Leonard, who died of complications from a stroke Dec. 28, will be 4 to 8 p.m. today at Hennessy-Bagnoli-Moore Funeral Home at 936 N. Main St. in Akron.
A funeral service for Mrs. Leonard will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home followed by burial at Holy Cross Cemetery.
Jerry Leonard said the murder of sister is a wound that never healed.
Mary Leonard, 17, a North High School senior, and Ricky Beard, 19, a 1979 North graduate, disappeared after leaving the Ascot Drive-In theater in Northampton Township. The next day, Beard’s car was found in a garage on Northampton Road with a bullet hole in the window.
The discovery of their remains in May 1985 off Riverview Road in Cuyahoga Falls eased the pain somewhat, Jerry Leonard said. Beard had been shot in the chest and neck and Leonard was stabbed and shot.
“We knew [then] she was no longer with us,” said Jerry Leonard, whose father, Richard, died in December 2012.
Retired Akron Police officer Bob Swain has remained close with the Leonard and Beard families and still hopes to find a lead that will solve the case.
“I can’t imagine what the family is going through,” Swain said. “This is one case that will never be put down” and be forgotten.
Phyllis Craig, a cousin of Mary Leonard, said the family always hoped in Gloria Leonard’s lifetime “that the person or persons responsible for Mary’s death would be brought to justice.”
She said the family still hopes “someone may come forward with information to reopen this case.”
The family has always believed “someone has to know something,” she said.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials for Gloria Leonard be made to Senior Independence Hospice, 1815 W. Market St., Akron, OH 44313.
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or firstname.lastname@example.org.