Leonard Liggio – a great and beloved friend of classical liberals throughout the world – died one year ago today. He is still very much missed.
A few days after Leonard died, Steve Pejovich, emeritus professor of economics at Texas A&M, sent the following e-mail to several of his friends. To mark the one-year anniversary of Leonard’s death, I share with you Steve’s e-mail (with his kind permission):
Lenard Liggio was one of my dearest friends.
We met in 1981 in Washington as Reagan appointees to the advisory committee of the US Information Agency (an independent agency at that time). Within a year, we both resigned in protest over the firing of Robert Reilly. By 1983, Leonard joined the advisory board of my Center for Free Enterprise at A&M. We met frequently in Dallas, Washington, Aix, Alpbach, Freiburg and many Liberty Fund conferences. In the late 1980s we traveled by car from Budapest to Belgrade and then on to Montenegro. The last time I talked to Leonard was about four weeks ago.
Thirty-four years of strong friendship leaves behind lots of things to remember. I would like to share with you my three favorite memories of Leonard.
In the late 1980s or early 1990s–my timing is getting rusty–I was going to Washington. Leonard called to ask me to have dinner with him. He promised a big surprise. We met at my hotel. Leonard was in his perennial brown suit and the car that might remember World War II. We drove to a restaurant somewhere in Virginia. The surprise was the name of that restaurant: the Serbian Crown. It turned out that the Serbian Crown was recently sold to a Japanese owner. No Serbian dishes were served.
In the late 1990s, Leonard came to Dallas to attend John Goodman’s event featuring Milton Friedman. By that time, it was my turn to surprise him. Since Leonard’s ancestry was–at least in part–Albanian, my surprise was to take him to the Cafe Istanbul. Leonard loved the place. While consuming one lamb dish after another and complimenting the Cafe manager for fine food, he also informed him that his ancestors were catholic Albanians who loved pork.
Leonard visited Montenegro several times. He loved the history and tradition of that country. Once John Moore and I were with him. Leonard and John gave several lectures and interviews. Then, Veselin Vukotich took us all to the birth place of Pejovich family–a very remote village in the middle of rugged mountains. As we were driving on a bumpy road (the term road is a heroic assumption), I turned to Leonard and said: the bones of lots of your Albanian ancestors are all over this land. Leonard was quick to reply. Yes, he said, there must be lots of my ancestors buried here; after all, they owned this place for 500 years.
Leonard will live forever.