James Michael "Mike" Leahy

Stonington - James Michael "Mike" Leahy, 71, of Stonington, husband of Deborah Kotchen, passed away unexpectedly, Friday, April 5, 2013, at the Rhode Island Hospital in Providence.

Born in Laconia, N.H., he was the son of the late Dr. Roland and Margaret Leahy and lived in Stonington for the past decade. He previously resided in West Hartford and Westport. Mike was a member of two Laconia High School state championship ski teams and was a nationally ranked water ski jumper in the 1950s. He graduated from the University of Connecticut.

Professionally, Mike spent 25 years in the advertising business in New York and London. He was executive vice president and managing director at Saatchi & Saatchi, and held previous positions with Young & Rubicam, Needham Harper & Steers and Dancer Fitzgerald Sample. His clients included P&G, Bristol-Myers, Sara Lee, M&M Mars, Xerox and the United States Olympic Committee.

In 1991, Mike launched his own consulting business, providing marketing services to Connecticut Departments of Labor, Health and Tourism, The Newspaper Association of America, Drugs Don't Work!, Special Olympics World Games, Forbes, Business Week and three Connecticut governors through the Connecticut Economic Resource Center.

Mike served on the board of directors for Special Olympics Connecticut, Stonington Free Library, Stonington Village Improvement Association and Stonington Harbor Yacht Club.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two children from a former marriage with Carol Leahy of Westport, daughter, Wendy Leahy and her husband, Michael Grand, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; son, Michael Leahy and his wife, Aimee, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; three step-children, Elizabeth Neave and her husband, Jonathan, of Monkton, Md., Matthew Kotchen and his wife, Elinor, of Washington, DC, and Andrew Kotchen and his wife, Emily, of Irvington, N.Y.; two brothers, Richard and John Leahy both of Laconia, N.H.; and five beloved grandchildren, Ethan Grand, Mia Leahy, Spencer Neave, Grace and William Kotchen.

He was predeceased by his grandson, Charles Neave, whom he now joins to resume their exciting summer adventures.

Mike was an avid sailor and skier with boundless energy, and his sense of humor, selflessness and kind heart will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at 11 a.m. April 20, 2013, at the Calvary Church, 26 Church St., Stonington.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of J. Michael Leahy to Special Olympics Connecticut, 2666 State St., Hamden, CT 06517.

Published in The Day on Apr. 7, 2013