By Jo-Ann Leimberg & Jay Kayne
On Dec. 1, 2022, Amelia Island lost a true “Renaissance Man” in the tradition of Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Jefferson.
Steve Leimberg was an inventor. In 1984, with business partner Bob LeClair, Steve created NumberCruncher, an electronic spreadsheet for estate, business and financial planners, which led to the formation of Leimberg & LeClair, Inc., now Leimberg, LeClair and Lackner. He was an educator as a professor at the American College of Financial Services and via webinars. And innovator, with the introduction in 2000 of Leimberg Information Services, Inc., the first web-based data and analysis platform for the legal, accounting and financial industries. He was an award-winning writer having authored or co-authored numerous books and newsletters. And skilled orator, a frequently requested speaker at major conferences and universities, and to government agencies such as the IRS, FBI and NASA. He was a theologian, well versed in Judaic history, traditions and philosophy.
He was best known to friends and acquaintances on Amelia Island as an artist, philanthropist and political activist. With local photographers Dawna and Scott Moore, he provided visual images of the life and beauty of Amelia Island and Northeast Florida in books such as “A Day on Amelia,” “White Oak,” and “Meet Me on Amelia.” Steve became known as “The Bird Man of Amelia” based on a series of published images and a photo album “Birds of Amelia,” reminding us of the avian beauty that surrounds us every day. He also captured “the faces of Amelia Island” through portraits of local residents in multiple venues.
Additionally, Steve contributed his time, talent and treasure in support of many local organizations and events. He served on the boards of Wild Amelia, the Island Art Association and was a member of the police auxiliary. He used his photographic skills to support local causes such as the “Amelia Forever” campaign to preserve an additional portion of the Great Nana Dune System, honor officers and staff of the Fernandina Police Department and promote cultural events at the Amelia Community Theater, Amelia Musical Playhouse, Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival and Friends of the Fernandina Beach Library. Yet, he still made time to speak out on issues affecting the sustainability of the local environment—the need for balanced growth and protection of the island’s natural assets—as well as his lifelong commitment to social and economic justice.
Above all Steve was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend. He will be missed by his wife Jo-Ann Leimberg, daughter Charlee Sterling and husband Robert, daughter Lara Ackerman and partner Dan Kohen, stepson John Egly-Russell, three wonderful grandchildren—Max Sterling, Aaron Sterling and Julia Kohen, and siblings Gary, Eugene and Martia Leimberg. His absence will also be felt by his many, many friends and acquaintances. Time spent with Steve was a rewarding occurrence. His sense of community and core values made everyone he touched better for the experience.
Fortunately, we can continue to see the world through Steve’s eyes via online images at his website www.unseenimages.com. And honor his memory by partaking of the portraits and landscapes through which he captured so much joy and beauty.
Note: The Fernandina Observer joins many community members and organizations in expressing its profound sorrow upon the death of Stephan R. Leimberg. For over 10 years, Steve supported the efforts of the Fernandina Observer by advertising and offering his photographs for publication. His nature photographs were magnificent, as were his mesmerizing portraits.
As new opportunities arose for Steve to hone his skills, he joyfully shared his creations. We were sent images of the “Rare Super Blood Wolf Moon,” and aerial photographs capturing Fernandina’s waterfront. After Steve attended his first Petanque Open, he wrote, “I’ve never seen happier people! What GREAT faces!” When a tornado touched down in 2013, Steve responded to our request for photographs of damage with pictures of frogs he titled, “Unexpected Pleasures.”
We thank Steve for the many gifts he gave to a community he loved. Our condolences to his wife Jo-Ann, his family, and the many friends he touched along his way. He will be missed.