Dr. Edward Prior Leahy, 90, of Issaquah, Wash., passed away peacefully at the Evergreen Hospice Center on April 9, 2013. Born on April 1, 1923 to Edward Charles Prior Leahy and Aurelia Margaret (Scherz) Leahy in New York City, Ed grew up in the Port Washington, N.Y. community.
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Following the bombing at Pearl Harbor, Ed left the University of Virginia to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps. As part of the 20th Marines, 4th Marine Division during World War II, Ed took part in some of the fiercest combat of the war. Successfully making landings at Saipan, Tinian, Roi Namur, and Iwo Jima, he proudly served his country and was honorably discharged.
Ed returned to his studies at the University of Virginia at the conclusion of the war, earning a degree in Civil Engineering. Returning to New York, he worked for a brief time in the city and then accepted a commission in the US Navy as an officer in the Civil Engineer Corps. Following his service, Ed continued his education, earning an MBA at Columbia University in 1958.
Upon completing his graduate studies, Ed set off to learn more about the world over the horizon. He worked and lived throughout the Americas, Europe and North Africa. Some of these experiences included working as a deck hand on a Danish freighter, building airports in Morocco and acting in the movie Moby Dick with Gregory Peck, and directed by John Huston.
Approaching middle age, Ed decided upon teaching as his professional calling. He earned his Doctorate in Geography from the University of Florida and in 1969 accepted a position at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. That same year, Ed married Palmyra ("Pia") Monteiro of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. They welcomed two children, made a good life in the community and attended St. Paul's Episcopal Church.
In 1995, Ed moved to Issaquah, Wash. and married Connie Dow. In retirement, the couple found great happiness and enjoyed camping, hiking, the Pacific Northwest Ballet and continued world travels.
Ed is the author or co-author of numerous academic articles and books, including Venezuela, Search for a Middle Ground, 1969; and Earth and Man, 1981. In addition, his autobiography, In the Islands, On the Road to Adventure details his service during the War and his life of exploration.
Ed is remembered as a kind and thoughtful soul; always eager for adventure and happy to share the company of those closest to him while enjoying a martini.
Ed is survived by his wife, Connie Leahy, of Issaquah, Wash.; his ex-wife, Pia Leahy of Greenville, N.C.; daughter, Christy Leahy Becker of Greenville; son, Thomas E. Leahy of Ashton, Md. and wife, Patti; Brian R. Becker of Greenville, N.C.; and four grandchildren, William and Carina Becker and Sonia Lucia and Jude Leahy.
Ed was predeceased by his parents and sister, Edith Lischer.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, May 2, 2013 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 401 E 4th Street, Greenville, N.C. All are invited to join the family following the service for refreshments. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Evergreen Healthcare Foundation, Hospice Services, 12040 NE 128th St., MS 5, Kirkland, WA, 98034-3013.
Published in The Daily Reflector on Apr. 28, 2013