WSWA Statement on Passing of former Chairman Don Leebern Jr.

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It is with great sadness that Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) marks the passing of former WSWA Chairman Don Leebern Jr. Mr. Leebern was great industry leader and advocate, served as chairman of WSWA from 1985-1986 and continued his service to the wine and spirits industry on WSWA’s Board of Directors from 1978-2021 and on the Finance and Audit Committee from 2011-2018.  

Prior to joining Georgia Crown Distributing Co., Leebern earned a bachelor of business administration degree from the University of Georgia. He was a proud Georgia Bulldog and played varsity football on the 1959 SEC championship team and the 1960 Orange Bowl championship team. At Georgia Crown Distributing, he worked in sales until 1968, when he became President of the company.

“As we mourn Don’s loss, let us also celebrate his contributions to his community and the countless lives he touched. He wasn’t just an industry leader, he was a generous leader in every part of his life and he will continue to inspire us for years to come. On behalf of the entirety of WSWA – from staff to members, we extend our deepest condolences to Don III, the entire family, friends and colleagues who knew and loved him,” said WSWA President and CEO Francis Creighton. 

A believer in public service and “giving back” to his beloved native state, Don was appointed by Georgia’s Governor Zell Miller to the University System Board of Regents in 1991, served five consecutive terms, including as Regents chairman during 1994-95, and completed his final term in 2019 when he became a Regent Emeritus.

“Don made great contributions to the wine and spirits industry over the years and served WSWA and its members in several roles well. My condolences are with his family and friends who mourn his loss and celebrate his life,” said current WSWA Chairman Doug Shaw of M.S. Walker.

In lieu of flowers please send donations to UCBC Cares Foundation, 3320 Old Jefferson Road, Building 800, Athens, GA 30607.


Lord and Stephens Funeral Home, WEST, Watkinsville, GA is in charge of arrangements.


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