Father Leonard A. Traverso, a retired priest of the Diocese of San Jose, passed away in the morning of Friday, August 7, 2020 in his residence in San Jose. He was 83 years old.
Born on May 14, 1937 in San Francisco, Leonard was the son of John and Eleanor Traverso. He had a brother named John Jr. who passed away in 2007. Proud of their Italian heritage, the Traverso family attended Sts. Peter and Paul Church. He went to Sts. Peter and Paul’s Grammar School and finished high school at Sacred Heart High School also in San Francisco. For his college education, he attended St. Mary’s College in Moraga.
Leonard worked different jobs. He first started to sell fruit off a truck, and then later worked as a gardener, as a clerk at Bank of America, as a taxi driver for Yellow Cab Company, and as a grave digger for Holy Cross Cemetery. He likewise had a job as stockman for Macy’s, Roos Brothers and Gumps. He also got a job at I. Magnin’s as a gift wrapper in their toy department.
After serving in the Army as a member of the U.S. Army Special Troops and traveling throughout Western Europe and the British Isles, Leonard became interested in the priesthood. He first entered the Dominican novitiate in Kentfield, California but later transferred to studying for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
He entered St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park and was ordained to the priesthood on May 27, 1972 at St. Mary’s Cathedral for the Archdiocese of San Francisco by Archbishop Joseph T. McGucken.
As a deacon, he was assigned at St. Gabriel’s Parish in San Francisco. Following his ordination in 1972, he was first assigned as parochial vicar to Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Daly City until 1974. From 1974 to 1976, he served as associate pastor at St. Isabella Parish in San Rafael, and from 1976 to 1980, he served at Our Lady of Loreto Parish in Novato.
From the northern section of the Archdiocese, Father Traverso came south, to Santa Clara County, where he was assigned to St. Lucy Parish in Campbell in 1980. In January 1981, the new Diocese of San Jose was established, and Fr. Len opted to stay in the new diocese. He served at St. Lucy’s until 1986 when he decided to take a leave and served for two years in the Diocese of Sacramento.
Upon his return in 1988, he served as chaplain at Notre Dame Villa and Our Lady of Fatima Villa in Saratoga, ministering to the sick and elderly with care and compassion.
He returned to active pastoral assignment as parochial vicar at St. Elizabeth Parish in Milpitas and then at St. Patrick Proto-Cathedral Parish in San Jose, until his retirement.
Father Traverso is survived by his nephews, Ken and Gary Traverso, the sons of his brother John, their wives Lisa and Cindy Traverso and their children, great nieces Jennifer and Siena, great nephews Michael, Max and Luca Traverso. Leonard was also survived by his great, great nephew Oliver, son of Jennifer & husband Joe Kelly.