James M. Leavy
1928 - 2016
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May 20, 1928 - January 28, 2016 Retired newsman James M. Leavy died at his home on Jan. 28, 2016, following an extended illness. His partner of 31 years, Barbara Baird, was at his side. He was 87. Born in Rochester, N.Y., Jim was the son of James and Mildred Meyers Leavy. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1946-1949. After graduating from Syracuse University School of Journalism, Jim became a faculty member at Alfred Tech University in Alfred, N.Y., where he was so beloved by his students that they surprised him when he left the college by dedicating their yearbook to him. Jim and his former wife, the late Jean Leavy, have a son, Mike Leavy of Snowmass, CO., and a daughter Pat Leavy of Torrance, CA. He was predeceased by his brother Tom Leavy and sister Dianne Leavy Voelkl. Jim forged a notable career in journalism. He was a roving reporter in the state of Nevada, which satisfied his natural curiosity and spirit of independence. He became editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and supervised the entire newspaper's coverage. He then became an editor at the Long Beach Press Telegram, and then the Orange County section of the L.A. Times. In the early 1980s he was appointed editor of the Los Angeles Times Westside section in Santa Monica. His wicked humor and keen insights made him a legendary figure in the newsroom. When he left the Westside section, his reporters and photojournalists past and present held a farewell dinner at which all his favorite outrageous comments on race, gender and popular culture became a source of hilarious entertainment. At the end of the event everyone donned photocopied masks showing Jim in the midst of a raucous laugh. He retired in 1992. Jim loved to needle his friends and unsuspecting acquaintances with irreverent observations. He enjoyed tennis, sailing, stock market analysis (he had a system hardly anyone could understand, despite his determined efforts to instruct) and guitar ("Lineman from the County" was one of his specialties). A life celebration will be held at Jim and Barbara's home in Culver City/LA 90066. The date has not yet been determined but inquiries can be addressed to barbara90066@gmail.com

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Published in Los Angeles Times on Jan. 31, 2016.
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Memories & Condolences
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15 entries
January 25, 2019
Three years already? It doesn't seem possible! I still think of Jim frequently. He was smart and funny and irreverent, and I loved him - the old grouch! (Just kidding about the "grouch" part, Jim... maybe!)
Mary Jo Bradshaw
Friend
March 15, 2016
I have known Jim Leavy since I wasmet his daughter, Pat, when I was fourteen. It's still hard to believe he's gone! My dad rarely, if ever, had a real conversation with me so I was delighted by Jim. I thought he was smart and funny, and I enjoyed the banter about religion - an avowed atheist and a teenage kid who went to church and Bible study at every opportunity! One of my most cherished memories will always be that he and Barbara attended my ordination to Christian ministry. My life was definitely richer for having known him.
Mary Jo Bradshaw
February 2, 2016
A Postscript: Barbara and Jim came from the same hometown, Rochester, New York. Who would guess these two would come together as adults at the same newspaper for the perfect fit. The stars were in alignment.
Pat
February 2, 2016
You had to be on your toes over the years when visiting or picking up Barbara, especially after Jim retired and answered the door. Jim would lure you into the most lively political discussions. It was difficult to keep up with his observations of current events and the state of the news business.
There was enormous grace as well as when he threw a huge party for Barbara when she got her MA from Loyola Marymount; and when he'd pick you up at the airport or try to explain his unorthodox yet successful stock strategy. A couple well suited. A life well lived.
Pat Larsen
February 1, 2016
Mike, Jim, Barbara, Buddy, Pat Nov. 2015
Barbara Baird
February 1, 2016
Mike Leavy on bass with his bluegrass band
Barbara Baird
February 1, 2016
Jim with John Mitchell's daughter Nyla
Barbara Baird
February 1, 2016
To Barb and the family of Jim,
Deepest condolences on the parting of a very dear man. I only knew Jim through my friend for many years Barb. She always spoke so highly of him and his accomplishments and took such good care of Jim. On the few occasions that I met him, he was always so nice and appeared to be such a gentle soul.
I'm sure he will be missed by so many people and remembered fondly by all. May Barb and his family have strength in the days ahead.
Very fond wishes,
Sue Cohen (Barb's friend for 30 years)
February 1, 2016
To Dear Barb and
February 1, 2016
Barbz and Jim, circa 1980s
Claudia
February 1, 2016
Barbz & Jim, circa 1980s
All our love to Barbara, who loved and was loved by this sweet and funny man. Our condolences to her and to his children, Mike and Pat.
Claudia
January 31, 2016
Our love dog Buddy
Barbara Baird
January 31, 2016
Family portrait November 2015
Jim was the love of my life. He was a man of intellect and integrity. His rapier wit and sense of humor kept us all on our toes. He was an Irishman through and through.
January 31, 2016
Barbara, my deepest condolences in your loss. Jim was a true one-of-a-kind and his contributions in the journalism field are impressive. Even more impressive was the bond between the two of you - there was never any doubt of the true love that existed. I'm sure Jim is now telling St. Peter a story, punctuated with a sly look and sharp laughter. He shall be missed.
January 31, 2016
Uncle Jim and my mom, his sister Dianne. A favorite photo of mine.
Wendy Post
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