William A. Leitner

Published 5:19 pm Monday, May 15, 2023

William A. “Roney” Leitner, 97, passed away on May 15, 2023. He grew up in Portsmouth and married Doris Kuebler in 1943. The newlyweds moved to Jacksonville, Florida where he worked for the Florida Times Newspaper until he was drafted into the Navy. He served aboard the USS Oswald, a destroyer escort ship on convoy duty in the North Atlantic during World War II. 

In the 1950s, Roney worked for the Virginian Pilot/Ledger Star as a circulation district manager for the newspaper carriers, both boys and girls. In the 1950s and 60s, Roney and other chaperones took the carriers who had sold and delivered the most newspapers on trips to Miami Beach and New York City by train as a reward for their hard work. He enjoyed coaching the young carriers on their first business experiences. He was promoted to Circulation Manager for the morning and evening newspapers for Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Suffolk districts. He retired from the Virginian Pilot after 31 years. Roney later worked for the Bank of Virginia/Signet Bank as an Eastern Regional Property Inspector for 15 years.

In the 1970s, Roney and Doris were among the first couples who bought and restored historic homes in Olde Towne, Portsmouth, including 215 and 205 Glasgow Street and lived there 40 years. They were active in the Olde Towne Civic League, volunteered as tour guides on the trolley in the historic district and participated in the Ghost Walk events. Doris wrote and published “Ghost Stories of Olde Towne, Portsmouth, Virginia.” Their circa 1785 Portsmouth home was on the Virginia Garden Tour. In the late 1990s, they restored an 1880s waterman’s house in Mathews County, which was featured on a Mathews Garden Tour. Roney was a member of the Mathews VFW and was the WW II keynote speaker at the 2019 Veterans’ Day banquet. He volunteered for the VFW and for Meals on Wheels into his 90s. They enjoyed spending time with friends in Olde Towne and Mathews County.


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They had properties in Nags Head, N.C. where he fished in tournaments as a member of the

Pheasant Pluckers and Six Percenters Fishing Clubs. Saltwater fishing was his passion, catching a white marlin and a tarpon on the Eastern Shore. He enjoyed fishing adventures on the Eastern Shore, the Outer Banks, the Florida Keys and Alaska with family and friends, including Bob Hutchinson, Mike Williams, Claude Rogers and Bill Fruit. 

He is predeceased by his wife of 70 years Doris, and their infant daughter, Elisabeth Ann; brothers, Preston “Biff” and Robert “Buddy” Leitner; and sisters, Frances Cherry and Mary “Duddie” Peacock. He is survived by his loving nieces, nephews and their families. Special thanks to the staff at Trinity Hospice.

A graveside service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 18, at Olive Branch Cemetery in Portsmouth. A reception will follow at the Sturtevant Event Center, 5100 Portsmouth Blvd. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the charity of your choice. Condolences may be made online at SturtevantFH.com.