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James M. Leavy


1928 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
James M. Leavy Obituary
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 [email protected]
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 31, 2016
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