Stephan R. Leimberg: an Amelia Neighbor of Great Consequence

By Jo-Ann Leimberg & Jay Kayne

Stephan Robert Leimberg

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 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.



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DAVE LOTT(@dave-l)
1 year ago

Thoughts and prayers of comfort and peace to Steve’s family and friends. He was truly a gifted artist and our lives were all enriched by his willingness to share. RIP.

Lyn Pannone
Lyn Pannone(@lyn-pannone)
1 year ago

Steve was a treasure. He was a generous supporter of Amelia Tree Conservancy in many ways and we will forever appreciate and value his contributions. He will be missed.

Diana Herman
Diana Herman(@dianah1229)
1 year ago

A special soul–a dear friend, an activist, an amazing photographer–he made so many of us look great. He will be sorely missed by his family, his friends and our community.

Margo Story
Margo Story (@guest_66561)
1 year ago

Sincere condolences to JoAnn & the family…….may the eternal light shine upon Steve.

1 year ago

Steve touched so many lives on the island in so many ways. He was an inspiration, a mentor to many of us. He will be greatly missed.

Jack Dickson
Jack Dickson(@nancyjackathenshotmail-com)
1 year ago

I have lost my brother from a different mother and will miss the all to infrequent reparte that we shared. A true artist and opinionated person who took the time to listen to others. Are love to Jo-Ann and know that Nancy and I will always be here to be by your side.

Paula Mutzel
Paula Mutzel(@paula-m)
1 year ago

RIP you will be truly missed by all who had the pleasure to know you.

Evelyn C MCDONALD (@guest_66601)
1 year ago

I was saddened to read of Steve’s passing. He was a uniquely nice person. Whenever I ran into him, there was always a smile and greeting.

The great English architect, Christopher Wren, who designed St. Paul’s Cathedral in London has written by his tomb, “Reader, if you seek a monument, look around you.”

In my view, Steve’s monument is his photography, particularly his portraits. He caught the humanity in his subjects and gave them warmth.

Doug Mackle
Doug Mackle (@guest_66604)
1 year ago

I have known Steve Leimberg for a number of years, starting with a chance meeting at the old Shuckers after the regular sporting clays outing I and several other local celebrities met for every Friday morning. Lunch at the old Shuckers following the shooting was also a “regular” event for us. That morning I had not been able to shoot, but did attend the lunch. The only open chair was next to this older bearded gentleman, so I sat down and introduced myself and asked him who he was and what he did beside shoot. He told me his name and told me he was a photographer. As a busy Realtor I had recently run out of business cards and wanted to have new ones printed with my photograph on one side. So, I asked him if he did portraits and he said he did. We scheduled an appointment at his home for the following week. His “studio” was in one of the bedrooms of his very nice AIP home. During the shoot, he said his photo studio was really inadequate, and he thought he really needed to find a bigger home. He followed with “Would you have time to help me and my wife Jo-Ann find a roomier home on the Island?” I naturally said “yes.” Jo-Ann and I started the search, and eventually found the perfect home on Red Cedar, about 2 blocks from their current home. After the closing, I recruited Steve to became a member of a small investment club of which I was a member. There were only 12 of us, and each member was responsible for following one or two stocks and briefing the other members. Steve was given Apple (AAPL) and gave us important and interesting updates on what became our most important stock asset. Little did I know hewas a partner in an online stock and general market and economic advisory service, but he really helped all of us do a better job. Steve became and remained a good friend, a knowledgeable advisor, and a pretty good shot, not to mention an extremely talented man with a camera! Jody and I will miss Steve, and know we were very fortunate to know Steve and Jo-Ann. Not many people like Steve come along with any frequency. Jody and I were in the right place at the right time in in the right circumstance.

Kathleen E Maurer
Kathleen E Maurer (@guest_66639)
1 year ago

Gone too soon! Yet he left us all with beauty many of us didn’t know existed. He found places to photograph we couldn’t go . Our love and prayers to Jo-Ann and his family. I’m sure they know what a treasure he was to so many here. It was a privilege when he asked to our portraits. His generosity was endless to our community. He will be missed,RIP.

Susan Taylor
Susan Taylor(@sutayl)
1 year ago

Steve Leimberg was a gift to all of us. We are grateful that we had him in our lives and will never forget.