Frederick "Rick" W. Leone Jr., 62, a lifelong resident of East Hartford, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on Friday, Dec. 27, 2013, after a brief and courageous battle with scleroderma.
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Fred was born in Hartford on April 1, 1951, to Fred W. and Marjorie (Monticone) Leone of East Hartford. He owned and operated Town & Country Liquor Store in East Hartford for over 40 years. He attended Sunset Ridge School and graduated from East Hartford High School, Class of 1969, where he was a standout football player for the East Hartford Hornets earning All-State honors, including the Marco Polo Trophy for Outstanding Lineman in 1968. In 1969, he was nominated by U.S. Rep. Emilio Q. Daddario to attend and play football for the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. He instead attended the University of Vermont and graduated in 1973 with a B.S. degree in marketing. Upon graduation, he worked with the Leone family at Town & Country Liquor Store, which at the time was the largest liquor store in Connecticut. Town & Country sold such a large quantity of Gallo Wines, that Ernesto and Julio Gallo of California made a guest appearance and tour of the store in East Hartford. Fred eventually bought the liquor store from his family, where he and his wife, Mary Ann, and two daughters along with other family members worked until his retirement in 2012. Fred took great pride in sharing stories of his childhood days growing up on Silver Lane, where his grandfather's tobacco farm and homestead is now home of the Silver Lane Bowling Alley and Town & Country Liquor Store. To be able to work side by side with his father and uncles on the farm as a child and then be the only grandchild to continue the Leone legacy of successfully owning and operating his liquor store was one of his greatest accomplishments to his family.
A devout Catholic, Rick was a faithful communicant of the Catholic Communities of East Hartford North and a former member of St. Rose Church's Parish Council and former chairman of the St. Rose Church Carnival for many years.
Fred was also a member of the Volunteer Hose Company 3, East Hartford, and became an avid bowler participating in many leagues, where he also worked in the family-owned Silver Lanes Bowling Alley. He was actively involved in the East Hartford community by supporting many local charities, athletic teams, schools, civic organizations, church groups, and private fundraising events. One of his greatest joys until his illness was being a "grandparent volunteer" for the Boy Scout Troop 1, East Hartford. Besides sports, Fred was an avid reader, from the classics to best sellers. He especially loved World War II history and biographies. He had a great sense of humor and loved to tell jokes, while listening to all types of background music and enjoying select wines from his liquor store. He also enjoyed vacation time in the family home at the Stone Village in Chester, Vt., where he loved entertaining family and friends.
Besides his parents, Fred leaves his devoted wife of over 36 years, Mary Ann (Oliva) Leone of East Hartford; his two cherished daughters, Marisa L. Leone and her fiancé, Israel Maldonado and Vanessa M. Leone and David Mikkelson (who also was a long-time employee of Town & Country Liquors), all of East Hartford; two beloved grandchildren, Gianni Leone and Angelina Leone, both of East Hartford; his sister and special brother-in-law, Camille and Tommy Kellogg of South Glastonbury; his uncle and aunt/godmother, Robert E. and Joan Maschi of East Hartford; and special cousins, Robert E. Maschi Jr. of East Hartford, Fred Leone of Columbia, and Gordon "Kip" Leone of South Glastonbury. He also is survived by his Oliva in-laws, many cousins, nieces, nephews, neighbors, friends, and former customers in the East Hartford Community; his two beloved Newfoundland dogs, Baxter and Jesse; and two dear friends, Michael Thibodeau and Dan Del Mastro Jr., for their never ending support and friendship. Fred was predeceased by a sister-in-law, Donna Oliva and two very close friends, Mike O'Leary and Andre Major. Fred will truly be missed by all that knew and loved him!
Funeral services will be Saturday, Jan. 4, with a Mass of Christian Burial celebrated at 10 a.m. at St. Rose Church, 33 Church St., East Hartford. Fred's family asks that everyone please go directly to the church on Saturday morning. Burial will follow at St. Mary's Cemetery, (Section D), Burnside Avenue, East Hartford.
Fred's family will receive relatives and friends on Friday, Jan. 3, from 3 to 7 p.m. at the D'Esopo-East Hartford Memorial Chapel, 30 Carter St., East Hartford.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Frederick W. Leone Jr. Scholarship Fund, c/o Michael J. Thibodeau, CPA, 1481 Pleasant Valley Road, Manchester, CT 06042.
Fred's family would like to express their sincere appreciation and gratitude to Glastonbury Health Care Inc., Caregivers Inc. of East Hartford, and Dr. John Vischio, Rheumatology Associates for their professionalism, care, and compassion given to Fred and his family during his illness.
For online expressions of sympathy to the family, visit
D'Esopo East Hartford Memorial Chapel
30 Carter Street East Hartford, CT 06118-3606
Published in Journal Inquirer from Jan. 2 to Jan. 6, 2014