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William John "Bill" Leary Jr.


1940 - 2013 | Obituary Condolences
William John "Bill" Leary Jr. Obituary
William (Bill) John Leary Jr., 72, of Glenside, Pa., passed away peacefully in Abington Memorial Hospital on Friday, Aug. 2, 2013.
Dr. Leary was born Oct. 2, 1940, in Bryn Mawr, Pa., to parents Marie Alice Johnston Leary and William John Leary Sr. He was the first of five children. He spent his childhood in Berwyn, Pa., graduating from Conestoga High School in 1958. He attended The Pennsylvania State University from 1958-1962, graduating with a double major of education and psychology.
From 1962-1964 he taught English at Great Valley High School in Malvern, Pa. In 1964 he was awarded an NDEA Institute fellowship to return to Penn State for a master's degree in counseling. From 1965-1968 he worked as a guidance counselor at Upper Merion High School in King of Prussia, Pa. He then worked at Carnegie-Mellon University as an assistant director of admissions while pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh from 1968-1971. In 1970 he was awarded the Maurice J. Thomas Fellowship for doctoral study at University of Pittsburgh. He received his Ph.D. in education administration in 1972. During this time from 1971-1974 he served as principal of Hampton Senior High School in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Dr. Leary married Barbara Anne Buchanan of West Chester, Pa. in 1961. He is survived by Barbara and their four children: William John Leary III of Atlanta, Ga., Michael Buchanan Leary of Wilton, Maine, James Christopher Leary of Rochester, Minn., and Gretchen Elizabeth Leary of Portland, Ore.; as well as five grandchildren. Bill is also survived by his four siblings Dorothy Daly, David Leary, Donna Eaves, J. Terry Leary; and 10 nieces and nephews.
In 1973 he became superintendent of Waynesboro Area School District where he served for 10 years. In 1983 he accepted the superintendence at East Penn School District in Emmaus, Pa. In 1992 he became superintendent of Springfield Township School District in Oreland, Pa., where he retired in 2002 after 10 years of service. Upon retirement he enjoyed working as a superintendent search consultant.
During his career, Dr. Leary received many honors and awards as an educator. These awards included:
Member of the Board of Directors for the College of Education Alumni Society at Penn State. For 18 years, serving as president from 1988-1990.
He was on the Executive Board of the Lehigh Valley Business-Education Partnership 1988-1992.
He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators 1980-1985.
Chairperson of State Legislative Committee for PASA 1996-1998 and 2001-2002.
Award of Distinguished Service (1983) and Founding Member of the College of Education Advisory Council at Shippensburg University of Pa., 1977-1983.
Recipient of the Excellence in Education Award from Penn State University in 1980.
Citizen of the Year for 1999 in Springfield Township, Montgomery County, by the Springfield Township Rotary Club.
Co-founder of the Springfield Township Citizen's Partnership, a consortium of community agencies that work together to provide support for and programs aimed at, improving life for students and adults in Springfield Township.
During retirement, Dr. Leary enjoyed spending time in Venice, Fla. He also enjoyed traveling, playing golf, boating, and cooking. He deepened his appreciation for art and loved being around family and friends. He will be remembered most significantly for mentoring young educators in the pursuit of career development and leadership excellence.
A celebration of his life will be held at Flourtown Country Club, Sunday Aug. 25, 2013, from 5 to 7 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the College of Education at Penn State University, 247 Chambers Building, University Park, Pa. 16802-3206 in his memory.
Published in Waynesboro Record Herald on Aug. 12, 2013
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