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Richard B. Leake III

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BENNINGTON -- Richard B. Leake III, 84, a resident of Stark Street and a former longtime resident of Woodford Road, died Wednesday, April 6, 2005, at Centers For Living and Rehabilitation following a brief illness.

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sept. 10, 1920, he was the son of the late Richard B. Leake Jr. and the former Margaret (Pitt) Leake. He received his education at the Hoosac School in Hoosick, N.Y., the Kent School in Kent, Conn., Williams College and was a 1941 graduate of Cornell University.

Dick married the former Jean Campbell at the Old First Church in Bennington in 1942. Jean Leake died in 1980. He married the former Margaret “Peg” Hodge White in 1981 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Bennington.

After graduating from college, Dick was employed as a math and science teacher at the Carleton Parker School in Williamstown, Mass. While teaching at Carleton Parker he began his lifelong love of farming and in 1945 moved to Bennington where he operated the family farm at Furnace Brook until the 1980s when he turned the business over to his eldest son, Scott.

Over the years Dick was very active in local Bennington County agricultural organizations and the Vermont Extension Service. He was also engaged in a foreign exchange program with students from France who came to the United States to study farming.

A community volunteer for many years, during the 1950s and 60s Dick was a former member and past chairman of the Bennington Rural School Board. During that time he was instrumental in uniting the Bennington rural schools with the Bennington Graded School District to form the current Bennington School District. From 1974 through 1978, he also served as a member of the Bennington Select Board and was a past chairman of that board.

A trustee of Putnam Memorial Health Care for many years, Dick was currently a trustee emeritus for Southwestern Vermont Health Care. He was a former member of the Vermont Environmental Board and a member of the Park Lawn Cemetery board of directors.

An avid outdoorsman, he was a hockey player and member of the Kent School crew team. He also enjoyed alpine skiing and more recently golf became both his passion and frustration.

Survivors include his wife, Margaret “Peg” Leake of Bennington; a son and daughter-in-law, Paul and Ann Leake of Mill Valley, Calif. and their children Tim, Jamie, Kevin and Ryan; a son and daughter-in-law, David and Glenda Leake of Guilford, Conn. and their children Jonathan and Jared; a son, Alan Leake of Bennington; a daughter, Elvy Draft of Chicago and her children Andrew, Anna and Margaret; his grandchildren, Bryan, Jeffrey, Jill and Michael and two great-grandchildren, Emma and Preston who are the children and grandchildren of his predeceased son and daughter-in-law, Scott and Nancy (McIntosh) Leake; three step-children, Jocelyn Hand of Stoughton, Mass.; Nancy Higby and her children David, Jamie and Maggie of Salem, N.Y.; Wendy Hand and her partner Claudine Klein of Greenwich, N.Y. and a daughter-in-law, Wendy Hoffmeister of Shaftsbury. Dick is also survived by several nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews and cousins. In addition to his son and daughter-in-law, Dick was also predeceased by a sister and brother, Margot Craig and Peter Leake.

Friends are invited to pay respects to the Leake family at the Mahar & Son Funeral Home Saturday, April 9, 2005 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Private committal services will take place at the convenience of the family.

Should friends desire, contributions in Richard B. Leake’s memory may be made to either ALS Regional Center, St. Peter’s Hospital, Albany, N.Y. or to Southwestern Vermont Health Care through the office of the Mahar & Son Funeral Home, 628 Main St., Bennington, VT 05201.
Published in Bennington Banner on Apr. 8, 2005
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