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John H. Leahy

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John H. Leahy Obituary
John H. Leahy Feb. 17, 1937 - Aug. 19, 2015 NOTRE DAME - John H. Leahy, born on February 17, 1937, in Niles, Illinois, on the north side of Chicago, went to Heaven from Lake Arrowhead, California, on August 19, 2015, after losing a fast-paced battle with cancer. He follows his mother and father, Elinor and Harry Leahy, his brother, Terry, and his sister, Maureen, in death. He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Sheila Martin, his sister, Mary Jo (Gene Johnson), and brother, Tom (Mary), sister-in-law, Polly, stepchildren, Martin Parsons (Michelle), David A. Parsons, Bethany (Rick Clements), Michelle (David K. Rogers) and Michael Parsons (Stephanie). Grandchildren, Kaitlyn, Lauren, Meghan and Nathan Parsons, Zachary Clements, Jewel, Catherine and Jacob Rogers, Liam John Parsons, and many nieces and nephews, great ones too, in Colorado, Wisconsin, Ohio and Connecticut. A man of complete humility and integrity, love of God and family, and the greatest Irish wit bar none, John attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help Elementary School in Chicago, graduated from Loyola Academy High School, earned his B.A. in journalism '59, and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame '64. An avid fan of college football, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame were always #1. He was the senior football manager at Notre Dame, and lived in the football stadium during his law years, locking it up and taking care of Clashmore Mike, whom he referred to as the mean little Irish Terrier mascot of those days, earning himself the title of proprietor of the Stadium Bar and Grill. John continued to serve his beloved University as a member of the Monogram Club, serving several years on its Board of Directors; a member of the Sorin Society; supporter of the Rockne Heritage Fund and a member of its Director's Circle. Having spent many summers on the shores of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, John was an avid sailor from a very early age. He loved to sail his 22' Columbia, Courtship, off the shores of Long Beach during his years in California, and was a longtime member of the Long Beach Yacht Club. Before Law School John went into the United States Navy as a commissioned officer, serving on the USS Collet, intending to make the Navy his career, until his goal was thwarted by seasickness and two collisions at sea, one during anti-submarine warfare maneuvers off the coast of Long Beach, actually nabbing one of our own subs. Never to be discouraged, he enlisted in the Navy reserve and retired with the rank of Captain after a 30-year stint with the Navy. A return to law school after his active duty years then led to careers as a Chicago attorney - until the snow and slush gave way to the sunshine of California; administrative assistant to California Assemblyman Mike Cullen; Councilman and Mayor of the City of Carson, California; Santa Claus to many, many children of friends and fellow members of the Carson Rotary Club; court commissioner in the City of Compton before being appointed to the bench as a municipal court judge for the City of Compton by Governor Jerry Brown. He was successful in his subsequent election to the Superior Court of the State of California, serving in the fast track civil courts of Los Angeles, an assignment he described as redistributing the wealth of the Nation. After thirty years on the bench he and Sheila retired to their home "On Golden Pond" in Lake Arrowhead, California. For many years he sat in San Bernardino County in their Assigned Judge program which allowed time to pursue many a cruising vacation to the South Pacific, Hawaii, Alaska, transit through the Panama Canal, both trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific cruises, Ireland, Barcelona and Rio de Janeiro. While his final two weeks were difficult, his last few days became more comfortable and his last breath in total peace at 9:35 a.m. in Sheila's arms. They were blessed in their retirement by Our Lady of the Lake faith community in Arrowhead, and a full-time priest from the Congregation of the Resurrection for all their years in retirement - Father Tim, Father Len, and now Father Michal. In lieu of flowers - but not of prayers - donations may be made the Congregation of the Resurrection, 3601 North California Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60618, Attn: Brother Bill, to support seminarians with vocations to the priesthood. Funeral services in Lake Arrowhead were handled by Montecito Mortuary and Funeral Home in Colton, California (www.montecitomemorialparkandmortuary.com. Mass of Christian Burial was held Monday, August 24, 2015, at 7:00 pm in Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, 27627 Rim of the World Drive, Lake Arrowhead, CA. Visitation was in the church beginning at 4:30 p.m., Rosary at 6:00 p.m., and eulogies until 6:45 p.m. Funeral services at the University of Notre Dame are being handled by Palmer Funeral Home - Hickey Chapel (www.palmerfuneralhomes.com), South Bend, Indiana. Visitation will be from 1:00 - 3:00 pm Thursday, August 27, 2015, at their Hickey Chapel, 17131 Cleveland Road, South Bend. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 3:30 pm Thursday, August 27th, in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, with interment following in Our Lady of Sorrows Mausoleum in Cedar Grove Cemetery. Online condolences may be left for the Leahy family at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com.
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Published in South Bend Tribune on Aug. 26, 2015
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