GREENFIELD - Howard N. ""Howie"" Leete, 80, of 27 Lincoln Street, died Thursday, September 12, 2013 at Baystate Franklin Medical Center, following a courageous 5 month battle with cancer.
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A native of Montague, he was born on May 10, 1933 to Gilbert and Rosabel (Woodin) Leete.
Howard attended Montague Public Schools and was a graduate of Turners Falls High School Class of 1951. He worked for Charlie Koch, in Turners Falls, for the Coca Cola Bottling Company in Northampton, MA and for Strathmore Paper Co., Turners Falls prior to enlisting in the USAF in 1951. He served honorably during the Korean Conflict and was assigned to the 26th Aviation Maintenance Squadron. He attained the rank of Airman First Class. He received the National Defense Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal and was honorably discharged in June of 1955.
Upon his return to civilian life, he accepted a position with the Sikorsky Helicopter Corp., located in Stratford, CT, where he worked in the intricate wiring blade section. He courted his future wife, the former Theresa J. Dedinas and they were married by Rev. Fr. Michael T. Lynch on April 19, 1958 in Holy Trinity Church in Greenfield. They celebrated 55 years of marriage this past April.
Following their marriage, they lived in Bridgeport, CT while Howard continued working for Sikorsky. In 1960, they returned to Turners Falls where he worked for the Wesco Electric Co. in Greenfield. He later worked for the Millers Falls Tool Company and then for Ingersol Rand as computer internal auditor. After Ingersol Rand sold their plant, Howard accepted a position at the Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, where he worked in the data processing department and retired in 1996.
After his retirement, he enjoyed helping his family and friends set up and problem solve the new home computers. He enjoyed his home, doing yard work and was a great ""fixer upper"". He could often be found lending a hand to others in need, in particular assisting his son Michael with projects around his new home.
Howard and his friends, Don Maloney and the late Fran Fahey, would take twice weekly ""breakfast trips"" to various area restaurants, scoring the restaurants in Don's black book. Howard and Don continued this ritual until early June of this year, until Howard was no longer able to participate due to his radiation and chemotherapy treatments. And on occasion, Truitt Pope would join Howard on these breakfast outings.
He was a member of the Lt. John J. Galvin American Legion Post #81, as well as the DAV Chapter #33 of Greenfield, MA.
Howard is lovingly remembered by his devoted wife of 55 years, Theresa ""Tess"" Leete and their son, Michael Leete, his wife Jocelyn and their sons Colby and Carter. Additionally, he is remembered with great affection by his mother-in-law Ann Dedinas, as well as his sister-in-law, Peg Stevens and her husband Guy; brother-in-law Richard Dedinas and his wife Alvis; in addition to several nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. He leaves his special cousin, Jean (Woodin) Bunce of FL. Howard was predeceased by his parents, his infant sister Lois, as well as his brothers: Gilbert ""Stymie"" Leete, Harold ""Bucky"" Leete and his wife, Jean (Vivier) Leete and Eddie Leete.
Funeral services in celebration of his life will be observed on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 with a Liturgy of Christian Burial at Holy Trinity Church, 133 Main Street, Greenfield, MA at 10:00 a.m., with Msgr. Ronald G. Yargeau, Pastor as the celebrant., with Rev. Fr. Timothy J. Campoli, Pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church to concelebrate. Rites of committal and burial will follow in Calvary Cemetery, Greenfield, MA. Full military honors will be observed with members of the USAF Elite Patriot Honor Guard from Westover AFB in attendance. A reception following the committal services will be announced. The family will receive guests on Tuesday morning at the McCarthy Funeral Homes, 36 Bank Row, Greenfield, MA prior to the services at church from 8:30-until the time of a dismissal prayer service at 9:15 a.m.
Expressions of affection in the form of charitable contributions, are suggested in lieu of flowers in Howard's memory to Baystate Franklin Medical Center, in c/o Oncology Department, 164 High Street, Greenfield, MA 01301 or to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, (CCFA) c/o National Processing Center, Attn: Honor & Memorial Gifts, P.O. Box 1245, Albert Lea, MN 56007.
The McCarthy Funeral Homes of Greenfield and Turners Falls, MA have been entrusted with the arrangements. Guest book and condolence message available at www.mccarthyfuneralhomes.com.
Published in The Recorder on Sept. 16, 2013