In 1921, Leon H. Bond and his brother put their entrepreneurial spirit to work and got themselves into quite a pickle. Literally. It was that year that they founded the Bond Pickle Company in Oconto, Wisconsin. With Leon serving as president, the company enjoyed tremendous success.
In 1975, Leon met Earl DeCloux, an Oconto teenager with an entrepreneurial spirit, a solid work ethic and unwavering energy. At the time, young Earl was looking for a way to make extra money mowing lawns. What began as just a summer job, blossomed into a special friendship. Earl served as Leon’s full-time aide and trustee. During that time Earl made two promises to Leon. First, that he would never end up in a nursing home. And second, that he would make sure that Leon’s dream of leaving a legacy to share with the people of Oconto would be completed so Leon could share in the celebration with the community he loves.
In 1993 the Leon H. & Clymene M. Bond Foundation, Inc. (the “Foundation”) was established as a family endowed Foundation committed to the growth and improvement of Oconto County and its surrounding areas. Earl DeCloux acted as President of the Foundation and presided over its operations until the time of his death in February, 2014. During the time Earl ran the Foundation he was instrumental in many projects including working with local government to improve local parks, providing the funding for local schools to improve student’s learning experiences and working with local non-profits to assist them in providing much needed services to the local area.
Leon had the good fortune to enjoy a long and prosperous life. He had dreamed of giving something to his friends and neighbors in Oconto. In September of 1994, Leon’s dream became a reality with the grand opening of the Bond Community Center. The center is a 41,000 square foot state-of-the-art health and recreation facility that offers many amenities including an Olympic size pool, racquetball courts, indoor walking/running track, full size gymnasium, weight room and multipurpose rooms.
The center symbolizes the values that Leon held so dearly. Family…Community…Health and most important, the chance for all of us to live life to the fullest. Earl worked tirelessly from the initial planning of the Bond Community Center, overseeing its construction, and running its day-to-day operations until it was sold in 2004. After the sale, Earl focused his attention on his work with the Foundation and started Adults Helping Children Today –Ukraine, a charity committed to addressing the needs of homeless children in Ukraine.
In March of 2000, Leon passed away at the age of 104. Earl continued Leon’s legacy and mission until his death in February 2014.