Leo Donald Suggs was born December 12, 1930, in Nashville, Tennessee. He was the youngest of the family of four children born to Joseph Edward Suggs and Mable Augusta Hemphill. He is preceded in death by both of his parents, one brother Joseph Edward, Jr., and one sister Evelyn Jolette Suggs. Donald committed his life to Christ at an early age joining the church family of Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church.
With a courageous and adventurous spirit, Leo Donald decided at the age seventeen he wanted to “see the world” while serving his country. With the permission of his parents, he enlisted in the United States Navy, where he served with honor and distinction. During his service he was awarded the “United Nations Medal”, the “Korean Service Medal, the “Korean Participation Medal”, the “Good Conduct Medal”, the “Navy Occupation Medal” and the “China Service Medal”.
As a sailor he served aboard, Navy Destroyers the USS New Jersey, the USS Moale and the USS Arnold J. Isbell. During his service he was also assigned to ports in San Diego, California and Yokosuka, Japan.He was Honorably Discharged in 1951 from Treasure Island in San Francisco, California.
After his honorable discharge Leo Donald returned to Nashville where he completed high school graduating from Pearl High School. He later enrolled in Tennessee State University. It was at Tennessee State, he met the love of his life and wife of 57 years Dorothy. While at TSU Leo Donald was mentored by professor Frances Thompson, his “favorite professor”. She introduced him to the exciting world of art. She discovered that Leo Donald had a gift and a passion for all forms of art including but limited sculpting, painting, and drawing. In 1960 he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education.
Full of passion and optimism and armed with his newly minted degree Leo Donald accepted his first teaching assignment in Marshall, Texas at Prairie View A&M University. During his tenure there he was loved by his students, admired by his colleagues and embraced by the community. He was always eagerly awaiting the next adventure and would often hop on his Harley Davidson motorcycle riding the long distance from Nashville to Chicago to see Dorothy.
A devoted couple, they would soon marry and settle in a Southside community of Chicago, Illinois. He embarked on a career in the Chicago Public School System. Mr. Suggs' Art class was a favorite among students. He was always ready and available to lend a hand during football games. His Chevy blazer truck stood out as the most decorated in the homecoming parades. He went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Special Education. Leo Doanld was admired and respected by students and his peers. He made countless friends among his colleagues. He retired from his beloved school Martin Luther King High after 25 years of teaching and dedicated service.
After retirement, Leo and Dorothy wanted to return to their southern roots. They moved to the small, close-knit community of Muscle Shoals, Alabama in October 2001. Here Leo Donald got to follow his second passion growing vegetables and flowers. He became a Master Gardener soon after moving to Muscle Shoals. You would often find him up early most mornings skillfully and tenderly caring for his garden. He truly loved and appreciated nature. Year after year, neighbors marveled at the beauty of his flowers; the hardiness of his plants; and the taste of his vegetables.
Leo Donald touched the lives of many. The community of Muscle Shoals welcomed him. He was a devoted son to his mother who lived to be 106 years old. He was a supportive brother to his sisters with weekly calls to check-in. He was an adoring husband and loving father always ready with a warm smile and comforting advice. He was loved by many family, friends, and neighbors.
Leo Donald made his heavenly transition Friday, October 8, 2021. He is survived by his loving wife Dorothy Marie Suggs, his loving daughter Kendra Marie Richardson (Rickey), his loving granddaughter Alexa Marie Ann Richardson, his loving grandson Aaron Joseph Richardson, his beloved sister Hazel Burley, loving nephews, Joseph Suggs, Reginald Suggs, Howard Burley (Rhonda), Bryon Williams (Marcia), and Michael Thompson (Stephanie), his loving nieces Viola Leak Burley, Tamara Daniel, Valerie Williams (Kenneth), and Sharon Thompson, special in-laws, Celestine Williams, Rosa Moore (Ralph), and Freda Stephens (Steve), countless loving other nieces, nephews and cousins with a host of special neighbors, and friends.
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