In late October 1940, Leonard was born prematurely, weighing two pounds. He was carried home in a shoebox, named for his uncle, and not expected to survive. But he persisted!
Manuel Molina Siqueiro and Lina Delgado Siqueiro raised their large family in a small home in East Los Angeles. Their eight children were Dolores, Tommy, Jenny, Anita, Manuel, Leonard, Linda, and Mercy. Their father was killed in a construction accident when Leonard was twelve. Leonard hung out with an unthreatening “gang” called the Early Timers. He married the girl next door, Cecelia Peinado, who told him she wouldn’t marry him unless he graduated from Garfield High. So he did.
Leonard and Cecelia’s firstborn was Steven, then came Suzanne, and finally son Martin. Leonard was a tireless and creative landscaper, and recounted lively parties beneath the canopy of their huge willow, strung with tiny lights.
Leonard was a meticulous worker, who began on assembly lines and soon worked up to positions of quality control. His employers included Max Factor, Beckman Instruments, and United Pipe.
His marriage of 17 years ended in divorce, but Leonard maintained contact with his children. When Marty was about 10 years old, he called Leonard; “I’m moving in with you, Dad.” Cecelia agreed, and Leonard decided that he would not raise this boy in Los Angeles. He had traveled through Oregon, remembered its greenery and freshness. So Leonard and Marty moved to Eugene in the early 80s, knowing no one and looking for work.
Leonard found a position with Spectra-Physics in Eugene, again on the assembly line and soon doing quality control. He found Eugene welcoming, and as a single father with a cute young son, was showered with attention from the social services workers. Tragically, Marty was killed in a traffic accident in Eugene when he was only 19 years old.
The evening of Eugene’s First Friday Art Walk in September 1991, Leonard met John Reynolds. They became friends and soon realized they would rather live together than separately. John called him “Len” and they found many friends among the Eugene Men’s Forum social group.
Len’s landscaping skills transformed John’s back yard of neglected ivy and periwinkle. He enlarged a small fishpond, and rooted out the ground cover. They had an arbor constructed and enlarged the wood deck. Now the peaceful and lush garden is a lasting tribute to Len’s skill and perseverance.
Len assisted John’s years of architectural research on Hispanic courtyards during several trips to Spain and Mexico. They would seek out promising examples, introduce themselves, and with Len’s barrio Spanish and John’s book Spanish, succeed in making physical measurements as well as placing temperature and light sensors in key places. Len heard their stories while John photographed. John’s subsequent book Courtyards; Aesthetic, Social, and Thermal Delight is dedicated “For Len, With Many Thanks.” Len and John also traveled to Italy and Peru.
Len was famous for his frequent calls to his mother, sisters, and brothers. He visited Los Angeles often, sometimes with John, and tried to get some of his family to visit Oregon. Although Len did not attend a Catholic church, he prayed each night. Len loved his cigarettes and his beer, but they did NOT love him. After a stay at RiverBend he came home to a host of new medicines and a need for oxygen. On his second night home, Len died in his sleep. He received his Final Blessing about midnight on June 15, Father’s Day eve. A group of friends and family celebrated Len’s life in his garden, a week later.
The many expressions of sympathy that John received told of Len’s kindness, ready smile, positive outlook about people, friendliness. Utterly unselfish, he was simply a lovely man.
Survivors include his former wife Cecelia Grimaldo, son Steven Siqueiro and his partner Ernie Carrasco, daughter Suzanne Siqueiro Chaffin and her son Joshua, daughter Brittney and daughter Breanne. Of Len’s siblings, only Mercy and Manuel “Kiki” remain and remember him well. A multitude of nephews and nieces remember their Uncle Leonard. Len’s faithful partner John, and John’s family remember him fondly.