Benjamin T. Leo, 77, of South Scranton and recently of Gino J. Merli Veterans Center, died Thursday evening at Moses Taylor Hospital after a lengthy illness. He was the husband of Mary Catherine Stolten Leo, his wife of 47 years.
Born in Scranton, son of the late Benjamin P. and Margaret Kulick Leo, he was a graduate of Scranton Central High School class of 1955, and of Lackawanna College. He was a veteran of the Air Force, during which time he lived in France for a short period, of which he always spoke very fondly. Before his retirement in 1998, he had a successful career as an investigator/counselor for the U.S. Postal Service for more than 30 years.
Ben was a lifelong and passionate N.Y. Yankees, Duke basketball and Notre Dame football fan. He was involved with the Scranton Eagles semiprofessional football organization. He coached his children's baseball and basketball leagues and was active in Boy Scout Troop 42. He was a lifelong member of St. Mary of the Assumption Church, where he served as an usher until its closure, and then joined St. Patrick's Church in West Scranton. He loved dancing and worked as an instructor for Arthur Murray Dance Studio. Music was always part of Ben's spirit and he especially enjoyed listening to his father, Benjamin Sr.'s jazz performances, as he was a professional jazz musician. Ben was always full of spirit around Christmastime, and would annually volunteer by dressing as Santa Claus at many local children's holiday events. He was well-known and respected among his professional colleagues and personal associates and throughout the city. He was a loving and proud husband, father, brother and grandpa whose good nature and smile will be greatly missed.
Also surviving are a daughter, Kathy Leo Tumavitch and husband, Nick, Clarks Summit; two sons, Michael and wife, Tracy Jarolimek Leo, Clermont, Fla.; and Stephen and fiancée, Kelly Penaranda, Miami, Fla.; four grandchildren; Madeline and Christina Leo, and Matthew and Jonathon Tumavitch; a sister, Diane Leo Kosar and husband, Andrew, Clarks Summit; two aunts, Madeline D. Leo, Scranton; and Joanne Foley, San Jose, Calif.; nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was also preceded in death by a brother Robert Leo and his wife, Terry Leo.
The funeral will be Tuesday at 8:45 a.m. from the August J. Haas Funeral Home Inc., 202 Pittston Ave., Scranton, with Mass at 9:30 a.m. in St. Patrick's Church. Interment, Cathedral Cemetery, Scranton.
Friends may call Monday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Suite 204, 1541 Alta Drive, Whitehall, PA 18052.