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Eleanor “Nora” Finn Leonard, 17, died Thursday, Aug. 1. Photo submitted
Hilary Anderson, Freelance Reporter
8:28 am CDT August 8, 2019

Eleanor “Nora” Finn Leonard was uniquely special.

The 17-year old left this world far too soon last Thursday, Aug. 1, after courageously fighting a year-long battle with liver cancer that spread to her lungs. 

Family members, friends and neighbors described her as incredibly warm, witty, creative, chatty and charming individual.

Leonard was the granddaughter of former Kenilworth residents Roy and Sheila Leonard who raised their six sons in the suburb including Nora’s father, Kelly Leonard.

Both Kelly Leonard and her mother, Anne Libera are Second City executives.

“Nora was mature beyond her years,” said Chris Jones, long-time family friend. “We used to compare her to Gilda Radner. She was fun to be around from a young age. Nora loved to engage with adults and tell jokes. 

Jones added Nora Leonard never fit a mold.

“She was a student at Chicago’s Waldorf School and already grounded in a sense of what personal responsibility was, what things mattered and able to articulate them,” he said. “She knew how to stand up for others, which allowed her to grow into this remarkable young lady.”

Jones credits Leonard’s grandfather, Roy Leonard — a much-loved WGN Radio and TV personality who passed away in 2014--with setting the tone for the family.

The family stayed strong when it experienced another tragedy—the death of Nora Leonard’s uncle, Kyle Leonard, succumbed to esophageal cancer in January 2018.

“They truly are a remarkable family and Nora was on the road to continue that wonderful legacy of caring about others and public service in addition to being talented in so many ways,” Jones said.

Nora’s father, Kelly Leonard, started a #Team Nora effort that included hats and tee-shirts to encourage her in the battle against cancer.

“He and others took photos of Second City staff and alums like Tina Fey, Kate McKinnon and other celebrities who wore the hats and tee-shirts to show their support for her and posted them on Facebook,” Jones said. “She knew people loved her.”

There will be a celebration of Eleanor (Nora) Finn Leonard’s life is set for 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, at Second City, 1616 N. Wells, Chicago. Visitors are asked to come by 11 a.m. for the 11:30 a.m. start. A reception will follow. The public is welcome.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to either Lurie Children’s Hospital or Gilda’s Club Chicago.

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