Charles Farrington Leahy was born in Claremont on February 27, 1935. His parents, Helen Farrington Leahy and Albert D. Leahy, were community leaders and role models for their two sons. Their father was a lawyer and District Court Judge. Their mother served several terms on the Claremont School Board. Their uncle, John Leahy, was Chief Justice of the NH Superior Court.
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Chuck was an excellent student and star athlete at Claremont's Stevens High School where he graduated with honors in 1953. He followed his older brother, Albert D. Leahy Jr., to Yale University, graduating with a degree in English in 1957. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in Army Intelligence until 1960. After that, he again followed in his brother's footsteps, this time to Harvard Law School where he graduated with honors in 1963. Chuck and his brother both chose to return to their beloved native state to practice law, with Al settling in Claremont, where he became a distinguished lawyer and District Court Judge, and Chuck settling in Concord.
In his early career, Chuck was Legislative Counsel to Governor Walter Peterson and came to be recognized as one of New Hampshire's pre-eminent lawyers. Always interested in education, Chuck served on the Concord School Board and as a trustee of The White Mountain School. He helped found the Concord Trust for the Enhancement of Public Education and was a charter member of the New Hampshire Supreme Court Society, supporting its efforts to improve K-12 civics education in New Hampshire's public schools. He was also a trustee of NHPTV and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maine Law School, teaching its business planning course.
Chuck was the trustee of a number of charitable trusts distributing money to many worthy causes. He also served on many community boards. He was particularly proud of his work co-leading a broad study of the NH Court system. Many of the study's recommendations were adopted by the NH Supreme Court and the NH General Court.
In 1960, Chuck married Barbara Shimanski. He was devoted to his family, and together they raised five remarkable children, remaining good friends for life.
Chuck married Mary Susan (Stein) Galway in 1977. Chuck and Susie were devoted to each other. Together they built a life of richness, full of gatherings with family and friends. Their second home in Kennebunkport, Maine, became the focal point for many wonderful times. The croquet games they hosted for the extended family were legendary! There were summer Nova Scotia vacations, late winter travels across America to their casita in the low desert of southern California and annual excursions with Chuck's Yale roommates to many magnificent places.
Chuck died Thursday, August 21, 2014.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his five children and their spouses, Siobhan and Peter Ulrich, Charles, Jr. and Alison Leahy, Matthew and Deb Leahy, Susie Leahy and Rick English and Jonathan and Kristin Leahy; and nine grandchildren, Annie, Clare, Sam, Ben, Thomas, Mick, Max, Samantha and Emma. He also leaves his first wife, Barbara Leahy, of Concord; his brother, Albert D. Leahy, and sister-in-law, Patricia, of Claremont; niece, Alison Angle; nephew, Bill Leahy; and cousins Sam and Charles Farrington.
Memorial contributions may be made to the
or to the NH Supreme Court Society, P. O. Box 1341, Concord, New Hampshire 03302-1341 in support of civics education.
There will be an open house for family and friends.
Published in The Concord Monitor on Aug. 26, 2014