Floyd Ernest Leonard, chief of the Miami Nation, died Saturday, March 8, 2008, at Saint John's Hospital in Joplin, Mo., after an illness.

Chief Leonard was born Sept. 19, 1925, in Picher to Joseph Ernest and Ruth (Lassiter) Leonard. He received an honorary doctoral degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He also received a bachelor of science degree, a master of science degree and an education specialist degree from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan.

He was a World War II veteran of the Coast Guard serving in the South Pacific campaign.

He began teaching in 1950. He served as an elementary school principal in Joplin, Missouri, Public Schools from 1952 until 1966, as assistant superintendent of schools in Webb City, Mo., from 1966 until 1977 and as assistant superintendent of schools in Joplin, from 1977 to 1986, He retired after having served the public schools in Missouri for 36 years.

He served in several electoral positions with the Miami Nation since 1954. He served as the chief of the Miami Nation from 1974 to 1982 and 1989 to the present.

He married Patricia Mesplay on July 11, 1946, at the Sacred Heart Church in Webb City, Mo. She survives.

Additional survivors include one son and his wife, Dr. Joseph W. and Etsuko Leonard of Oxford, Ohio; two sisters, Reva Jean Sisk of Carterville, Mo., and Shirley Sweeten of Webb City; two grandchildren, Dr. Wesley Y. Leonard of Berkeley, Calif., and Mika Leonard of Washington, D.C., and one uncle, George Lassiter of Joplin.

Services were 10 a.m. today at the Miami Nation Cemetery. Thomas Gamble officiated.

Donations may be made to the Chief Leonard Memorial Fund, “MYAAMIA PROJECT.” More information is available at http://www.miamination.com.