Christian 10

Jay A. Leonard

May 3, 2023 (age 61) 61 Years Old
Read more about the life story of Jay and share your memory.    


Jay Alan Herbert Leonard, 61, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023. He was surrounded & filled with the love of his wife, two children & their spouses, both of his brothers, niece & nephew, and life-long best friend.  

Jay was raised in New Haven, Indiana. He was the middle of three sons of James (Jim) & Janet Leonard. His brother James (Jim Jr.), 67, who currently resides in Los Angeles, California and younger brother Jon, 57, who currently resides in Chicago, Illinois have been continual supporters of Jay’s ambitions since the earliest days here with him. Growing up, many realized that Jay was driven to become something special. He worked the paper route in New Haven then quickly transitioned that into making it his own little business of having delivery boys under him. Jay was everything but shy. In high school, he became the school mascot & remains a legend as “Vic the Bulldog.” Also, during this time, he was very proud of his acting & singing roles he took on in school plays.  

Jay attended Ball State University for a short period of time before realizing he loved working with people. In 1980, he started selling cars with Heffner Chevrolet in Fort Wayne, Indiana which then transitioned into Kelley Chevrolet. After a few short years of working his way up through the auto industry, he had the opportunity to manage a new car franchise in Atlanta, Georgia. Like college, this opportunity was short-lived. He realized that he could do this on his own. Then in 1989, Jay started Preferred Automotive Group. He started with a small lot on the corner of Speedway Drive in Fort Wayne with only six vehicles & transitioned his business to seven locations across northeast Indiana with hundreds of pre-owned vehicles in the years to come. As of today, his business model has consolidated all of their inventory into two locations in the Fort Wayne area. He was not only proud of his sales with pre-owned vehicles, but as well as his two state-of-art certified service facilities at the Illinois Road and Lima Road locations in Fort Wayne. Jay also owned his own warranty company called GFW, which stands for God, Family, Work. Jay would always say that represented his priorities & in that order. He has won Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. His business has been committed to giving back to the community. Since 1993, they have handed out thousands of Christmas trees for free to those in need. Also, in recent years, his business has been a huge supporter to Blue Jacket’s Fantasy of Lights. Over the course of the past 34 years in business there has been a significant amount of charities and organizations that Preferred Auto has contributed to due to Jay’s love of giving back to those around him. To this day, his business stands as an A+ rating & an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau. 

Jay has continued to impact the community positively through business & his personal life. He was a proud co-owner of the Fort Wayne Fury between 1994 and 2001 which was part of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA). His love was not only for basketball, but loved being around a team atmosphere & creating phenomenal relationships with players, coaches, and fans. Also, Jay was an advocate & supporter for Camp Watcha Wanna Do. This role that he took so close to his heart has helped donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to support a week for adolescents battling cancer to play their way from their worries of cancer creating normalcy for their childhood. In 2009, he became a co-owner of Pine Valley Country Club & helped create a new dynamic to generate a growth of the club & its amenities.  

Outside of his professions, Jay had many passions. Throughout his life, he loved to travel. He and his wife’s favorite destination in recent years has been to Kapalua in Maui, Hawaii. Together, one of the passions they shared was the game of golf. He has traveled all over the world with friends & family playing world renowned golf courses. Jay was once a pilot. He flew a single engine plane for many years & enjoyed his wings during the time he had his license. Also, Jay enjoyed playing cards. This came naturally to him due to his great ability of knowing math & understanding its odds within the game. Another passion that was close to Jay’s heart was fishing, and specifically ice fishing. Whatever person he was around in times of doing what he loved most, he always uplifted the spirits of everyone else around him, never acting as if someone was a stranger but rather a friend.  

Setting everything aside, Jay was most proud of his family. With his significant role in the public and professional life, Jay knew it was of utmost importance to spend quality time with his family and that he did. He was passionate, faithful, supportive, understanding, and downright funny. He has been happily married to & survived by his wife Ann for 34 years. Together, they had two children Alexandria (Khorshid) & Jacob. He is also survived by his son-in-law, Daniel Khorshid, and daughter-in-law, Ashley Leonard. Along came three grandchildren as well, Lincoln & Leo Khorshid and Penelope Leonard - best known as “Papa” to them. He continues to be survived by his brothers James (Linda) Leonard Jr. and Jon (Betsy) Leonard; several nieces and nephews and additional family members. Jay was preceded in death by his father, James J Leonard, and mother, L. Janet Leonard.  

Jay knew that none of his accomplishments, relationships created, and family he built wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for his sobriety. At a very early age, he recognized the troubles that persisted in his life were from the battles of his addiction with drugs and alcohol. With a close second to his family, he was extremely proud of his tremendous efforts since July 26th, 1983 and this coming July would have marked his 40th year of sobriety.  

Mass of Catholic Burial will be 10:30 AM, Friday, May 12th, 2023 at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Fort Wayne. 1502 E Wallen Road. Visitation will be held Thursday, May 11th, 2023, 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM at Divine Mercy Funeral Home, 3500 Lake Ave. Burial will be in the Catholic Cemetery, Fort Wayne, IN.  

Memorial contributions may be made to Camp Watcha Wanna Do & Stillwater Hospice. 



May 11, 2023

2:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Divine Mercy Funeral Home
3500 Lake Ave
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805

Mass of Christian Burial
May 12, 2023

10:30 AM
St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church
1502 E. Wallen Rd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46825

Online Memory & Photo Sharing Event
Online Event

In Loving Memory Of

Jay Leonard

August 21, 1961-May 3, 2023

Look inside to read what others
have shared

Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in the book.   

Online Memory & Photo Sharing Event
Online Event


In Loving Memory Of

Jay Leonard

August 21, 1961-May 3, 2023

Look inside to read what others have shared

Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in the book.   


Camp Watcha Wanna Do
P.O. Box 11166, Fort Wayne IN 46856
Tel: 1-260-609-3155

Stillwater Hospice
5910 Homestead Road, Fort Wayne IN 46814


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