George J. Leahy
1944 - 2020
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George J. Leahy

Tappan - George J. Leahy, 76, of Tappan, NY passed away peacefully on May 14, 2020. He had been fighting a tough battle with an acute cancer. George was born in Nyack Hospital on May 4, 1944 and grew up in Haverstraw, part of a large Irish family.

George was special for so many reasons. His daughters' remember his phone constantly ringing and him always answering, despite their pleas to ignore whoever it was. It wasn't until he became ill that they truly understood that it was because George was loved by his friends… and he had MANY. He never understood why he earned the nickname "the mayor" because of his outgoing personality and his ability to start a conversation with anyone, anywhere.

After graduating from Haverstraw High School and the College of Santa Fe, he received his Master's Degree from Manhattan College. His gift of gab and love of history were the perfect combination for his 36 year career as a Social Studies teacher in Nanuet High School and then his 9 years at St. Thomas Aquinas College. In the past few weeks many of his former students have messaged his family to tell them what an impact he had made on their lives. Those messages were shared with George and it brought him great joy in his final days.

George's joy at meeting people, influenced his involvement in the community. His pride in his Irish heritage and his Rockland County roots led to his decision to lecture on both subjects to numerous organizations. He was one of the original volunteers with Helping Hands, a group formed to bring shelter to Rockland's homeless. He spent many Thanksgiving mornings delivering Meals on Wheels, was a Republican committeeman for the Orangetown Republican Party, was an active member of the A.O.H. Div. 3 in Pearl River and a past president of the Rockland County A.O.H., he belonged to the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in Rockland, serving in various positions including president. He also belonged to the Pearl River Elks for many years.

George loved the great outdoors. His passion for hiking and golf were in stark contrast to his fashionable side—-which included bow ties, printed socks and trendy glasses. As much as George found joy in fashion, flare, friends, and philanthropy, the one thing that brought him the most joy was his family. They will miss his constant picture taking, incessant questions about whatever was going on in their lives and his always being there to lend a helping hand whenever needed. When he was too weak to eat, he would perk up when he saw his daughters, whispering, "my heart and my soul".

His daughter, Jennifer Donaghy of Old Tappan, NJ and Alison Bucalo of Ridgewood, NJ were the luckiest girls in the world.They had a father who would (and did) do anything for them. George never had a son, but he found one in his son-in-law Keith Bucalo. They shared a love of music and a passion for teaching. But George's greatest pride was that for his grandchildren. He passed down his love of history and nature to his oldest grandson, Tyler Donaghy. He often bragged about his only granddaughter, Casey Rose, and cherished every moment with his grandson, Dylan, constantly imparting words of wisdom and finding teachable moments to all three. And although George was splitting his time between NY and Florida, he was always desperate to get back home to see his two "little guys", Emmett and Wyatt Bucalo. He loved nothing more than giving them "fish kisses" and saying he loved them "to the moon and back".

George was married to Margaret Lydecker Leahy for almost 51 years. He loved the time they spent traveling, golfing, hiking and simply enjoying each other's company. He is survived by two sisters, Mary, of Stony Point, Bridget, of Leetsdale, Pa., and two brothers, Thomas, of Pearl River and Peter, of Highland Mills. He is also survived by nieces, nephews and numerous cousins whom he loved very much.

Because of COVID19, there will be a celebration of George's life at a later date. If you would like to honor George now…. call your family and tell them you love them, reach out to a friend, be kind to a stranger, respect your neighbor, pick up a history book, and social distance until this is over so we can all be together again to pay respect to a charismatic soul.




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Published in The Journal News from May 18 to May 19, 2020.
MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
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11 entries
May 26, 2020
Margie I am very sorry to learn of Georges passing. Sending love and prayers for you and families at this time
Pam Knarich Vella
CCHS 65 Classmate
Pam Vella
Friend
May 25, 2020
The Humphrey-June family are truly sorry for the passing of George. He was our family member, godfather to Sean and a beautiful man. Margie, and girls our condolences.
Ginger June
Family
May 25, 2020
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Kathleen O'Leary Rouse Class of 65
Kathleen M Rouse
Classmate
May 25, 2020
Margaret,
I was so sorry to learn of your husband's passing. Please accept my sincere condolences. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Sandy Knapp (CCHS Class of 1965)
Acquaintance
May 22, 2020
Mr. Leahy was my favorite teacher in high school. The passion that he taught with was contagious. He always took interest in all of his students. George Leahy will never be forgotten. My condolences to his family and friends.
Wendy Jones Kracke
Student
May 20, 2020
Although we worked in different departments at NHS, you could always count on George to be interested in what you were doing or teaching. Brimming with personality, you couldn't help but like him. I felt fortunate to have been able to spend some time with him recently at the last NHS class reunion. He was always dapper and I had no idea he wasn't well. It was an honor.
Dave Hurd
Coworker
May 20, 2020
Mr. Leahy was an exceptional person and an outstanding educator. He always had a warm and welcoming smile at the start of each class. Thank you, Mr. Leahy, for your passion to teach and your inspiration to be the best that we could be. God bless and keep your family and may you rest in peace.
Alethia Ellis-Eberhart
Student
May 20, 2020
Mr. Leahy was in a class of his own - a phenomenal teacher who really set the bar high. He contributed greatly to so many, and will be remembered with the fondest of memories. Rest in peace Mr. Leahy. My deepest condolences to your family and friends.
Allyson Medina
Student
May 19, 2020
Mr. Leahy was an outstanding teacher!!!! Thank you for your service and passion for teaching...you will never be forgotten
Meredith Beatty
Student
May 19, 2020
Great person!!!
Efren Olivo
Friend
May 19, 2020
So sorry to hear George has left us. Spoke to him for the last time at the Haverstraw High school reunion only a few months ago. No knowledge he was even sick. He will be missed at those gatherings. My condolences to his family.
Michael Anderson
Friend
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