Richard Warren Leavitt
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Salisbury-Richard Warren Leavitt, 78, of Salisbury passed away peacefully on a clear, starry night at home in the arms of his loving wife, surrounded by his family and pit bull terrier, Princess, on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014.
Born to Paul and Dorothy Leavitt of Lynn, Mass., in the family home on March 9, 1935, Richard was a loving husband and father, United Church of Christ minister, concert violinist and teacher. His early life was dedicated to the study of music and the violin. Considered a child prodigy, he played with the Lynn Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 12 and completed a Bachelors of Arts degree in music at the University of Rochester, NY, by the age of 20. Richard's strong faith and desire to serve others led him to the Harvard University Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a master's degree in theology in 1959. Following graduation, he was ordained as a minister in the United Church of Christ.
Richard married the love of his life, Jane, in 1960. Their incredible 53-year journey together included raising eight children: Catherine, Edwin, Jonathan, Aaron, Constance, Joey, Brittany and Cory and being the loving grandparents of Amanda and Taryn Leavitt, Chad and Theron Webb, Jeremy and Samantha McGuire and Amanda and Michael Giannicchi. An unfailingly patient father, he was always available to help with homework, attend extracurricular activities and provide guidance and counsel. Rev. Leavitt and Jane also were foster parents to dozens of abused and neglected children and nearly 500 babies, many of whom had special needs. He was the loving brother of Shirley and uncle to Leigh, Matthew and Scott Hallett, and Tamara and Daryl Keister.
Rev. Leavitt believed strongly in helping others. As a pastor, he faithfully served congregations in New Hampshire, New York and Maryland. A true professional, he took great care to research scripture and ensure each sermon was clear, concise, accurate and meaningful in hopes that his parishioners could apply the lessons to their own lives. Fluent in several languages, he also taught Latin at the Reinhardt School in Laurel, Md., and Greek and Hebrew to theology students in the greater Washington, D.C., area.
After his retirement in 1995, Rev. Leavitt continued to serve his community and enjoyed volunteering at soup kitchens, food banks and other charitable organizations dedicated to helping the poor. He was also a guest pastor at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Salisbury and Immanuel United Church of Christ in Cambridge. Rev. Leavitt enjoyed worshipping at churches of all faiths and recently completed a scholarly text detailing the historical life of Jesus. He was a beloved teacher of music theory and violin to many aspiring students in the Salisbury area and a member of the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra, Community Players of Salisbury and Salisbury string trio. His final performance was with the Community Players of Salisbury's production of "Les Miserables" in November 2013.
Richard was diagnosed with leukemia in December 2013 and underwent an experimental chemotherapy protocol at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Even though the treatment was not able to save him it was his hope that the information gathered during his clinical trial could help others in the future. He was extremely grateful to doctors, nurses, ancillary staff members and hospice professionals who cared for him during his illness. As a prostate cancer survivor, he was very thankful for the support and fellowship provided by the Men's Night Out Prostate Cancer Support Group.
In keeping with Richard's wishes for an environmentally responsible burial, he was laid to rest in a naturally wooded area reserved for green burials at Best Gate Memorial Park in Annapolis.
Join us in a celebration of Richard's life at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 9, at Trinity United Methodist Church, 112 High St., Salisbury, MD 21801. The family will receive visitors beginning at 3 p.m. that day. In lieu of flowers, please honor Richard's memory by thinking of him as you spend time with your own family, help someone in need, listen to a beautiful piece of music or make a donation to a cause that he held dear at Salisbury Chamber Singers, Community Players, c/o Phyllis Oldham, 623 Pine Bluff Rd., Salisbury, MD 21801 or Maryland Food Bank of the Eastern Shore, 28500 Owens Branch Rd., Salisbury, MD 21801.
Arrangements are in the care of Holloway Funeral Home P.A., 501 Snow Hill Rd., Salisbury, MD 21804. Please visit www.hollowayfh.com to express condolences to the family.
Holloway Funeral Home
501 Snow Hill Road Salisbury, MD 21804
Published in The Daily Times on Mar. 2, 2014