Leonel Sousa Cardoso was born in Loulé, Algarve, Portugal on July 8, 1955 to the parents of Maria Alice Sousa and Antonio Romão Cardoso where he attented primary school until the 5th grade at “Escola Technica do Loulé”. He immigrated to the United States being only 16 years old. An exciting  new life in America began on February 28th, 1971 when Leonel Cardoso moved to Magnolia Avenue, Elizabeth Port, New Jersey. 

Leonel Cardoso continued his education at Grover Cleveland Jr. High and then went onto Thomas Edison High School. Shortly after he began working as a Production Control Assistant at the Singer Factory. On October 14th, 1973 Monsengior João Antão officiated th sacrament of marriage to Leonel Cardoso and Maira Elvira Fernandes at the original location of Our Lady of Fatima Church on East Jersey Street in Elizabeth. Soon after, as newlyweds, they bought their first home in Clark Place Elizabeth where they lived for several years.

Originally in 1975 Leonel Cardoso was introduced to the Elizabeth Portuguese Instructive Social Club [P.I.S.C.] by his father in law Antonio Fernandes who already was a club director. In 1981, Leonel Cardoso took a more active leadership role in serving as one of the Board of Directors for P.I.S.C. Ever since then, Leonel Cardoso has worked on many different P.I.S.C. boards and served in various positions such as 1st Secretary, 2nd Secretary and on the General Assembly. 

Leonel Cardoso is one of the fewest members of our Portuguese Community who has withstood years of evolution in the history of our community’s progress.  He maintained faithful to the Portuguese community despite, countless transitions of club presidencies and boards.

Aside from Leonel Cardoso’s dedicated service to the P.I.S.C., he was instrumental in helping organizations such as the Elizabeth Portuguese Soccer Club, and the Elizabeth Portugal Day Parade Committee. Additionally in the early 1990’s Leonel Cardoso was exteremly active with the Portuguese American Citizens Club [P.A.C.], helping and guiding Portuguese immigrants obtain their U.S. citizenship. 

In 1993 Leonel Cardoso continued to extend his voluntary service to the Portuguse community by joining the Elizabeth Portuguese LIONS Club and in 1995 became the club’s President. Throughout the years he continuously served in various capacities on just about every consecutive board since his presidency. His selfless service to Lionism even extended beyond his local club and served in positions at the District Zone and Cabinet Levels. 

Leonel Cardoso’s most profound recognition should be noted in his simple dedication of consistent acts of selfless service.  Due to his many years of service, he is truly the generational icon of a bridge for our community. Leonel Cardoso is the ideal example of being “the Bridge” between our “old timers” to today’s generation.  This link is essential for preserving our heritage and continuing our lineage for future generations to come.

Professionally, Leonel Cardoso was employed for twenty-six (26) years as an Inventory Control Manager with White Systems in Kenilworth, New Jersey and more recently accepted an opportunity to work for CBM of America, where has been serving for the past six (6) years as Wherehouse Assistant Manager.

Leonel Cardoso still remains very active and continues to volunteer his time, as he has completely dedicated his life to serving his family and our Portuguese Community. Presently he resides in Kenilworth, New Jersey with his wife Elvira, 2 children Leo Jr. and Christine, son-in-law Dean and 2 grandchildren, Anna Karina and Antonio.

Leonel Cardoso

Grand Marshal - 2015