After a prolonged, but valiant struggle with brain cancer that first began on New Year’s Eve going into 2009, Leon Earl Wynter passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011. He was 57 years old.

He described himself as “first a Christian, then American and Black by way of his Jamaican heritage.”

Born in 1953, Leon grew up in the Bronx, N.Y., and was fond of saying that he arrived “just in time for most of the things that mattered: the space race, the triumph of the civil rights movement, disco, cable and the Macintosh computer.”

Leon proudly received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Yale in 1974, and his master’s of business administration in economics from New York University’s Stern School of Business in 1979.

After exploring the world of commercial banking, he entered journalism as a Washington Post staff reporter in 1980, where he covered education and racial change in suburban Prince George’s County, Md.

He later joined the Wall Street Journal’s Washington bureau in 1984, and covered the federal banking beat on Capitol Hill, as well as federal telecommunication and technology policy. He then created and wrote a monthly column for the Wall Street Journal called “Business & Race.” He considered the title alone as a victory, and he wrote it for 10 years, from 1989 to 1999.

Leon will be remembered as a former Cub Scout, a childhood classmate, a life-long confidante, and the closest of friends. In time, that same young man would grow to become an acclaimed voice on the racial and ethnic transformation of American identity for over 20 years as a journalist, essayist, commentator, speaker and an author.

As a sought-after public speaker, Leon shared his perspectives with strategic marketers at Time-Warner, Pepsico, Glaxo SmithKline, Cox Cable and the Strategic Research Institute. His commentaries on race, popular culture and “life observed” were frequently heard on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” beginning in 1993. He also published at least two dozen essays in newspapers and magazines including the Wall Street Journal, Savoy, the Washington Post and New York Newsday, among others.

Then he realized a major milestone in his life. His first book, {American Skin: Big Business, Pop Culture and the End of White America,} was published in August 2002. The book was heralded with strong reviews in many of the leading newspapers around the country.

He followed that with yet another book in 2007 …And I Haven’t Had A Bad Day Since, the memoir of co-writer Rep. Charles B. Rangel, of Harlem, former chairman of the House Ways and Means committee. At some point during this affiliation, Leon would later accept a position with the Harlem Community Development Corporation where he served as director of communications.

He understood that there were more books to write. He had more books in him… but it was not to be.

Leon loved pop culture, marketing, music, sports, sailing, politics, advertising, digital technology in general, and his Apple computers specifically. He loved New York City, his great many friends, his family, and he loved his daughter Grace.

Friends and well-wishers knew him as one of the Valley elite, a committed Christian, a professor of journalism, an elder of the Presbyterian Church, an enthusiastic blogger, an evolving musician, a lover of Public Radio, a tireless debater, and someone capable of great passions.

He once wrote, “I’m just in time to discover that life is not about being current; it’s about being present with God for my child and my loved ones.” At the end, he was both content and resolved that he would soon be “present with God.”

Wynter is survived by his daughter Grace Alexandra, his mother Sylvia, and his brother Stephen. Leon is preceded in death by his sister Rochelle, and his father Rupert. He leaves behind his second wife Yvonne, the mother of Grace, and his first wife Karen, the great love of his life. He leaves several aunts, uncles, a nephew, and several cousins behind. He also leaves behind an abundance of those who knew him personally and loved him, as well as those who knew him professionally and respected him. He has created a legacy of friendship, a body of work to be proud of, and a lifetime of vivid memories for those of us who have been privileged to be his friends.