James B. "Tim" O'Leary, 72, of Las Cruces, N.M., died Sept. 29, 2012 at an assisted living facility after a 2-year struggle with cancer. The son of the late James P. and M. Louise (Ryan) O'Leary, Tim grew up in Swampscott, Mass., graduating from Swampscott High in 1958. After receiving his B.A. from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. in 1962, Tim studied at the University of Lille, France as a Fulbright fellow. He then later received both his masters degree and Ph.D. in French language and literature from the University of Michigan. He spent his career in higher education in New Orleans, initially teaching at Tulane University and then the University of New Orleans, retiring in 2004. When Hurricane Katrina destroyed his home in 2005, he relocated to Las Cruces, a city he grew to love as much as his beloved New Orleans. Tim embraced all things French-language, culture, cuisine-and was drawn to the beauty of both Paris and New Orleans. He spent the 35 years of his teaching career devoted to sharing his enthusiasm for French with his students. His personal interests included traveling, classical music, cooking, gardening and spending time with his extended family and numerous friends. Tim is survived by his loving sister, Betty Anne Babcock of Braintree, Vt., and her husband Donald; his brother, Terrence O'Leary of Avon Park, Fla., and his wife Barbara Dale; and his devoted friends, Margy Brown and Judy Glassman of Las Cruces. He was predeceased by his brother, Thomas O'Leary, in 1968. He also leaves six nieces and nephews as well as 19 great nieces and nephews. At Tim's request, funeral services will be private. Memorial donations can be sent to Mesilla Valley Hospice of Las Cruces or to the Norris-Cotton Cancer Center, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, N.H.. Assisting the family is the Baca's Funeral Chapel, Las Cruces, N.M.
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Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on Oct. 3, 2012