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Kim Leatherman

Kim Alan Leatherman, who had owned a Talbot County landscaping business and was a charity auctioneer, died of pulmonary fibrosis May 9 at the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Dorchester. The Easton resident was 67.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Ruxton, he was the son of Edward Gordon Leatherman, an insurance broker, and Joan Shumaker Leatherman, a homemaker and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra patron.

He was a graduate of Towson High School and started a landscaping business while in high school. He had commercial and residential service contracts in northern Baltimore and in Baltimore County.

"He started cutting lawns at the age of 12. He was young and determined. He loved cutting lawns and cleaning up yards," said his sister, Kerry Dunnington of Baltimore. "My parents gave him part of the basement to turn into an office. He outgrew that. Before he graduated high school he actually had an office in the heart of Towson. He built a business from there. He had his own secretary at the time when his friends were in college."

She said Mr. Leatherman had numerous clients in Towson, Ruxton and Riderwood. He branched out into a full landscaping service and planted trees at the Roland Run Swim Club on West Joppa Road.

He entered the National Guard in 1966 and underwent basic training at Fort Bragg, N.C. He received an honorable discharge after an injury.

In 1970, Mr. Leatherman moved to Talbot County to establish a landscaping business and nursery, Leatherman Nurseries. He kept the business for 20 years.

"He served the whole county and had clients who also had winter homes in Baltimore and Washington. They asked him to come back over [the Bay Bridge] and do work for them there," said his life partner, Kate Edmunds Gallagher of Easton.

Mr. Leatherman first set up his business in an old St. Michaels gas station and worked from it for several years.

"He was very successful. He treated his employees like family and his clients the same. He was quality-conscious. He didn't cut corners. All he wanted to do was the right thing," said his accountant, Allan Alperstein of Towson. "He was a charismatic person."

He later built a home and had a plant and tree nursery in Bozman.

"People who met Kim knew he had a kind heart," said his sister. "He never gave up and always had a thirst for learning."

In 1975, Mr. Leatherman also became a real estate broker with Meredith Real Estate in Easton. During the 1980s, he attended auctioneer school and earned a license as a professional auctioneer.

He also worked with business associates in other ventures. He worked in waste management, commercial kitchen equipment, real estate development, auction sales and commercial real estate.

Mr. Leatherman was a member of the Easton Elks Lodge and was a co-founder of the former Bay Hundred Foundation, which supported St. Michaels public schools.

He was a sponsor of the Boy Scouts and the Gunston School, where he assisted with fundraising and parent activities.

After selling his landscaping business in 1990, he later decided to re-enter the field and opened Leatherman Landscaping, now operated by a son.

As an auctioneer, he ran charity events for schools and nonprofits on the Eastern Shore and in Annapolis. He ran sales for Habitat for Humanity-Choptank, the Gunston School, the Wye River Upper School, Saints Peter and Paul School, Friends of the Lighthouse Shelter, Evergreen: A Center for Balanced Living, the Avalon Foundation's Plein Air Festival, Talisman Therapeutic Riding and the Chesapeake Film Festival.

He spent his winters in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He would spend a week in Washington visiting museums.

"He was gregarious and fun-loving and was appreciated for his personal generosity and spirit," said Ms. Gallagher. "When he did something, he put all his energy into it."

A life celebration will be held at 4 p.m. June 14 at the Inn at 202 Dover, 202 E. Dover Road in Easton.

In addition to his life partner of eight years and his sister, survivors include two sons, Sean Gordon Leatherman of Cambridge and Travis Reece Leatherman of Houston; a brother, Kraig Leatherman of Towson; two other sisters, Kater Leatherman of Annapolis and Kristan Leatherman of Chico, Calif.; and a granddaughter. His marriage to Gail Donaway in 1981 ended in divorce.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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