Leonard “Lenny” Maldonado passed away peacefully with family and friends surrounding him at his home on January 21st, 2024. Leonard graduated from Farmington high school in 1986. Upon graduation Leonard followed the footsteps of his father enlisting in the United States Marine Corps, serving 26 distinguished years, retiring in 2012 as a Sergeant Major.
After graduating from Marine Corps recruit depot, San Diego, Leonard served as dispersing clerk in Okinawa, Japan. Leonard would deepen his footprint in Korea when he deployed there in support of Operation Bear Hunt in 1987. Leonard went on to tour in Camp Pendleton, Calif., Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, and Yuma air station, Arizona. In 1994 as a young Sergeant, Leonard was selected to be drill instructor and trained Marines at 3rd Battalion, Parris Island. To serve as a drill instructor it is considered a special duty assignment, in the United States Marine Corps, and only the finest are considered for this. After his time as drill instructor, he was selected to be the assistant Marine Officer Instructor at the University of Idaho and at the Washington State Naval science institute, where he trained Officers to lead Marines and Sailors. His career led him back to Okinawa, Japan where he was assigned to be a part of the 3rd Marine Logistics – landing support group. While in Okinawa he had the privilege of summiting Mount Suribachi (Iwo Jima), a milestone for all Marines since the flag was raised during World War 2. Leonard deployed with the 3rd Marines, 9th engineer battalion to Al Anbar, Iraq in support of Iraqi Freedom as the first sergeant of Headquarters and Service company. After completing his combat tour, he deployed to Mongolia in 2005 for Khaan quest. Khaan quest a military exercise is a multinational peacekeeping operation bringing dozens of foreign militaries to engage in sharing practices. Leonard ultimately reached the rank of Sergeant Major, the highest rank as an enlistee. Upon being selected to Sergeant Major, his father, who he is proceeded in death with, had the privilege to learning of his son’s success and would succumb to his illness two weeks later. Sergeant Major Maldonado was assigned to Marine Air Traffic Control Squadron 1, Air Station, Yuma, Arizona. Leonard would deploy with Marine Attack squadron- VMA -214 “Blacksheep” to Iraq to continue the support of Iraqi Freedom.
Sergeant Major Maldonado’s relief and appointment ceremony was held on the parade deck, June 8th, 2012 in front of his Marine Attack Squadron 214, where he received his 2nd Meritorious service medal. Leonard overly emphasized owing his success to his wife, Madonna, “she’s been the glue to the Maldonado household from start to finish”.
Sergeant Major Maldonado, Leonard awards: Meritorious Service medal (x2), Navy and Marine Corps accommodation medal (x4), Navy and Marine Corps achievement medal (x2), Marine good conduct medal (x5), National defense service medal (x2), Iraq Campaign medal (x2), Global war on terrorism medal, Korean defense service medal, Outstanding volunteer medal, Navy unit citation ribbon (x2), Navy and Marine Corp overseas ribbon (x2), Overseas deployment ribbon (x5), and Drill Instructor ribbon (x2).
After retiring from the United States Marine Corps, Sergeant Major Leonard Maldonado continued his career as a Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor at Shiprock, Highschool for 5 years. Leonard’s enthusiasm and passion for leading, teaching and keeping within the Esprit de corps of the United States Marine Corps, his students achieved two-consecutive New Mexico State Championships in the Drill Competition.
Sergeant Major Leonard Maldonado spent a lot of his time; fishing, hunting, shed hunting, hiking, going to concerts, hanging out with family and friends, watching Baseball, Football, and Hockey. He especially loved the Los Angeles Dodgers. One of his greatest passions in life were traveling with his beautiful wife Madonna and their two sons, David and Patrick. They together visited 50 countries.
Leonard is survived by his wife, Madonna, their two sons David and Patrick Maldonado, mother Virginia Maldonado, brother Kevin Maldonado, and his 5 grandchildren Amaya, Kalaiyah, Kade, Arabella, and baby Leonard. He is preceded in death by his father Dave Maldonado, (father-in-law) Romeo Rocha, (mother-in-law) Anita Rocha, and (brother-in-law) Arnel Rocha.
To know Leonard was an absolute privilege for so many. It is incredibly easy to say so many things we valued about him. In a combined effort from family and friends, to describe Leonard, we all wanted to share why he was loved by so many: his unconditional love, always ready for an adventure, honorable, funny, infectious laugh, kind to all and treated everyone as a friend, loved hard, incredible family man, very humble, genuine, loyal, lived life to the fullest, and his signature “hang loose” in all of his photos.
Services will be at:
Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Friday, February 2, 2024
Rosary begins at 9:30am / Funeral Ceremony 10:00 am to 11:00 am / Burial will be at Greenlawn Cemetery, immediately following the mass
A reception will be held at the Elks Lodge 1:00pm to 4:00 pm February 2, 2024
Honorary Pall Bearers:
David Maldonado, Patrick Maldonado, Dennis Ronk, Bobby Vigil, Lance Esquibel, David Valdez, Ruben Monclova, Brad Monclova, Andrew Monclova, Saji Thomas, Waheed Khan, Mike Ewell, Andrew Thompson, Sungmin Kim, Vince Manning, Lt Col Robert Schroder