A Tribute to Bill Leonesio

We lost an outstanding supporter of youth in aviation education and generous benefactor and board member of the Reno Air Racing Foundation, now known as Pathways to Aviation.

In recent years, Bill managed the VIP Tent at the National Championship Air Races. Unbeknownst to our organization, he would collect tips throughout the air race week and donate them for youth education programs through Pathways to Aviation.  

We will truly miss you Bill, you were an inspiring crusader for youth in aviation. We will cherish your legacy as a foundation for greater advancement in youth education and careers in aviation. Thank you.

Below is Bill's obituary.


William "Bill" Charles Leonesio

August 16, 1939 - January 6, 2016

Bill Leonesio 76 of Reno, NV, fourth generation Nevadan passed peacefully with his family by his side on January 6, 2016. He was the only son of Joseph and Florence Leonesio.

He was proud to have graduated in the last class of the original Bishop Manogue High School (Flick Ranch Property) on the Truckee River. He earned a degree in Economics at the University of Nevada where he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. He later was a graduate of the Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington. During his 33-year banking career with First National-First Interstate Bank of Nevada, he held various positions. His longest service was at the Peckham Lane branch, which he opened as the youngest manager. He retired as Vice President and Branch Manager Regional Administrator.

Some of his most recent community activities included: Active participant and Board Member of the Reno Air Races Association for 51 years, City of Reno Ward 2 Neighborhood Advisory Board (NAB). Past affiliations included Board of Directors of the Greater Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors for Partners in Education, Proud Booster of the University of Nevada-Reno Wolf Pack, South Reno Lions Club, Reno Elk's Lodge #597, past President of the Nevada State Fair, Prospector's Club, and Italian Benevolent Society. He enjoyed working with the youth in our community where he was a ski instructor for the Junior Ski Program, coached Little League, Babe Ruth, and YMCA Youth Soccer.

Bill never went anywhere without seeing a friend. As the social butterfly he was, Bill enjoyed meeting his friends for lunch at Coney Island and Simon's regularly. He loved the outdoors and Graeagle where he enjoyed spending time with family and friends. In his career and in life: ethics, honesty, hard work and respect is what he strove for. He felt one of the greatest things he could leave his family was a good and proud reputation.

Bill is survived by Doris, his wife of 51 years; his daughter Tanya and her husband Geoff DaForno, his son James and wife Shannon Leonesio, 5 grandsons that he adored: Mason, Zachary, Logan, Luke, Jacob, his cousin Mardelle Wallace, other distant cousins, and loyal companion, Frazier, his beloved Labrador.

A celebration of Bill's life will be held on Thursday, January 14, 11:00 a.m. at Mountain View Mortuary 425 Stoker Avenue, Reno.

The family asks in lieu of flowers, donations be made in memory of Bill Leonesio to The Reno National Little League "Pyramid Project," at City National Bank: 5470 Kietzke Ln. Suite 100, Reno, Nevada 89509, Attn: Mark McVeigh.

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