Obituary of Richard Leach
ALBANY - Richard A Leach, Sr., 71, died Friday, February 17th of complications from a stroke. He fought bravely to the end, and died peacefully, surrounded by his closest family and friends. Born in Oneonta, NY, he was the son of the late Egbert and Helen Leach. In Oneonta, growing up alongside his two best friends, brothers Mick and Gerry, he found his passion for family, friends and sports. He graduated from Oneonta High School, excelling in baseball and football. He also played baseball at Oneonta State, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. In college, he met the love of his life, the former Karen Geller, and they were soon married, a marriage that lasted 48 years. They moved to the Albany area so he could take a job teaching sixth grade in the Voorheesville School District. He spent 34 years at Voorheesville in a variety of capacities at the elementary and high school levels. He spent most of his years teaching Health and Human Relations, started the school’s nationally recognized Natural Helpers program, and received New York State Health Teacher of the Year in 1987. He also served as the district’s Health Coordinator. Dick coached baseball and football at Voorheesville, but it was on the wrestling mat where he made the most impact. He started the Voorheesville wrestling program and led it for 28 years, coaching many league and classification champions, as well as a state champion. He accumulated over 200 team wins during his tenure as the wrestling coach, but, more importantly, he changed many lives. Dick spent the last six years of his career as Voorheesville’s Athletic Director, before retiring at the end of the 2000-2001 school year. Some of his time after retirement was spent in education, tutoring kids at a homeless shelter and coaching football at Bethlehem High School, but most of it was spent doing the things that he loved most, which included watching his grandchildren in their many activities, traveling the world with Karen, talking politics, and watching his beloved Los Angeles Dodgers. Survivors, in addition to his wife, include his son, Rick (Melissa) of Delmar, his daughter Nicole Harrington (John) of Guilderland, his grandchildren, Michael, Christopher, Samantha, Daniel and Kati, his former son-in-law, Gary Ardito, as well as his brothers Gerald (Noreen) Leach and Myron (Vivian) Leach and his beloved nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and his sister, Judy. Special thank you to his dear friends, Dr. Roger Barrowman and Jerry Parmenter, who were of great comfort to his family and with him to the end, as well as the many doctors and nurses of the Albany Medical Center’s Neurology ICU, who provided him with wonderful care and gave him peace in his final days. Relatives and friends are invited to attend a service in Dick’s honor on Friday, February 24th, 2017, at 10:00 AM at the St. Matthew’s Church , 25 Mountain View St. Voorheesville. Calling hours will be at St. Matthew’s from 4-8 PM on Thursday, February 23rd. Memorial donations in Dick’s honor can be made to US HAEA, either at www.haea.org/resources/donate, or by sending a check or money order to US HAEA-Donation, PO Box 271561 Littleton, CO 80217.