Dr. Charles N. Leach Jr.
1935 - 2021
Dr. Charles Nelson Leach, Jr, age 86, died August 10, 2021, at home in Farmington, CT, with his wife of 59 years, Joan, by his side. He was born June 2, 1935, in then-Peking, China, to Florence Dixon Leach and Dr. Charles Nelson Leach, Sr., where his father taught at Peking Union Medical College. While his father was a prisoner in Santo Tomas Camp, Manila, Philippines 1941-43, Charlie's family moved to Newfane, VT from Montgomery, AL. His father returned to the Rockefeller Foundation's post-WWII European reconstruction projects in 1947, and the family moved between European capital city posts for several years. Back in the U.S., he graduated from Amherst College, in 1956. In 1960, following his graduation from Columbia Medical College, Charlie met his future wife Joan (Gross) at Bellevue Hospital in NY. They were married in 1962, after which he served as a Captain in the Army Medical Corp. In 1967, the family moved to CT. He eventually became Director of Cardiology at New Britain General Hospital where he co-founded the state's first cardiac rehabilitation program and learned Polish to better communicate with and enjoy his patients. Toward the end of his career, he briefly returned to private practice while continuing to teach at the University of Connecticut Medical School. He loved to bring his first year students to the New Britain Museum where he challenged them to see the connection between medicine, music and art. Upon retiring in 2000, he dedicated his energies to volunteering with town and state historical, environmental, and arts organizations. These included the Farmington Historical Society, the Farmington Land Trust, the Farmington Historic District Commission, the Stanley Whitman House, and the New Britain Museum of American Art, where he was a docent. In this latter capacity, he was occasionally seen playing an appropriate period piece on his harmonica to his audience. He enjoyed donning costumes and playing parts in various museum events, including as a colonial doctor for the Stanley Whitman House. In 2007, he was named the Land Trust Alliance's Volunteer of the Year for his advocacy of open space protection. A video honoring his volunteer work and passion for nature and history may be viewed at https://www.farmingtonlandtrust.org/volunteer-spotlight. Charlie imbued his children and grandchildren with a love for music and the out-of-doors; he and Joan continued to bike, hike, camp and canoe in the U.S. and Europe well into his eighties. He was especially amused by how different his grandchildren were from him and one another and took pleasure in seeing them take their unique paths. At family gatherings he often sported a special pair of red plaid pants and occasionally put a book of limericks in the middle of the dinner table. He will be remembered for his quick wit, infectious sense of humor, love of language and affection for tropical fish. He is survived by Joan (Gross), his wife of 59 years; his sister, Nancy Ward of Williamsburg, VA; four children, Nancy Leach of New Hartford, CT, Cynthia Evans, of West Hartford, CT, Caroline McCrave, of Lyme, NH, and Charles Leach, III, of Lee, MA and their spouses, William Michaud, Peter Evans, Charlie McCrave and Leigh Minor respectively, seven grandchildren, Noa and Talia Michaud, Liam and Aidan Evans, Ellie McCrave and Keegan and Mackenzie Leach, two nieces and a nephew, and many first cousins. The family wishes to thank the Farmington Visiting Nurse Association's Hospice Care, and Drs. Christopher Pickett and Thomas Manger, at the University of Connecticut Health Center, and Dr. John Berk at the Boston University Amyloidosis Trial Study. A Celebration of his Life will be held Saturday, October 16, 2021 at the New Britain Museum of American Art-- time to be announced. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Farmington Land Trust, P.O. Box 1, Farmington, CT 06034, the New Britain Museum of American Art, 56 Lexington St., New Britain, CT 06052 or to the Farmington Historical Society, P.O. Box 1645, Farmington, CT 06034.
Published by Hartford Courant from Aug. 15 to Aug. 17, 2021.
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23 Entries
I am so sorry to hear. I grew up in Newfane, Vt and in my youth worked for Charlie´s parents. They too were special. A few years ago mutual friends invited my wife and I to have dinner with Charlie and Joan. It was delightful and it is good to know what he accomplished in life. His parents would have been proud
Roger Allbee
November 14, 2021
Elizabeth Todaro Xenelis
September 8, 2021
Elizabeth Todaro Xenelis
September 8, 2021
I owed my fathers life to Dr Leach and his wife. They saved his life in 1970. I emailed Dr. Leach a few years ago and he remember that day in September 13,1970. My father passed on September 6. 2021. My condolences to Dr Leach and his family.
Elizabeth Todaro Xenelis
September 8, 2021
Love to all of Charlie´s wonderful family.
The Astrachan´s
September 3, 2021
Chuck We are sorry for the passing of your Dad.
Elmer & Judy Schmidinger
August 31, 2021
Carola Lea
August 23, 2021
Good bye Charlie Leach. Life is sprinkled with a multitude of events; life and death being the most significant. I have lost a great friend a few days ago, my numbness has changed to memories of warm feelings, and gratitude each bringing back great pithy conversations about art, literature,history... Charles Leach M.D. was a poly-dimensional man who could speak on the arts, history, and the sciences with authority yet, he was unassuming, open and inclusive with many intellectual passions; especially art and literature. As a NBMAA docent and supporter, he delighted in elucidating the style and message of Thomas Hart Benton´s " Art of Life in America" to elementary school kids. He had a gift, a twinkle and a grin, the best though was his ability to make you feel special when you were in his company. Good bye Charlie, I shall always remember you...
James "Jay" Johnston
August 22, 2021
Charlie always had a smile focused on the good in this troubled world. A special person who will be sorely missed.
The Schadler Family
August 21, 2021
Jayne, Aimee and Ruth
August 21, 2021
Dear Joan, We were lucky enough to spend an evening with you and Charlie at Art Phinney´s house prior to the pandemic. We had a great time reviewing your fascinating lives. I had a great professional respect for Charlie. All my best and very sorry for your loss Ron and Carla Pariser
Ronald Pariser MD
August 18, 2021
What a heartbreaking loss. I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Leach on a couple of art and history projects in Farmington over the last several years, and instantly warmed to his graciousness, sense of humor, vast knowledge and neverending curiosity, among many other wonderful and rare qualities. My heartfelt condolences to his loved ones.
Cindie Cagenello
August 17, 2021
I will forever be grateful to Dr. Leach for the care and compassion he showed my mother, one of his many patients.
Paula Gilberto
August 17, 2021
I had the good fortune of working with Dr. Leach on several projects. He was people-focused, listened before talking, and had a sense of humor I had not previously seen from the physicians whom I had known as a patient. He led an amazing group at NBGH, they always went the extra mile for those they were caring for. He will be missed, but he has left a legacy that will endure. Godspeed, Charlie.
John Pellino
August 16, 2021
Dear Joan and family, Joe and I are so very saddened to hear this news. Charlie led an extraordinary life and was such a wonderful person, husband and father. We have fond memories of our years in Farmington due to friends such as you. Our heartfelt sympathy to all of you. Sally and Joe
Sally and Joe Fitzgerald
August 16, 2021
So sorry and condolences to the family. I had the pleasure of working with Dr.Leach as a certified Medical technologist..We worked together doing stress testing of Cardiac patients. He was always A teacher..Will remember Charlie fondly.
Pat Burris
August 16, 2021
Joan, We worked together for years at Capital Community College. I am so sorry for the passing of your beloved husband. You always spoke of him with devotion and respect. My condolences to your entire family. Lee
Leona Konieczny
August 16, 2021
We have all lost a wonderful man and friend. I will always remember doing Candlelight skits with Charlie at the Stanley-Whitman House and his mischievous sense of humor. He was smart, funny, generous and so kind. Jag and I send our deepest sympathy to Joan and his family.
Jane Dalal
August 15, 2021
My grandfather arrived at our Farmington house one day in 1981 with heart troubles, and the first thing my dad did was put in a call to Dr. Leach. It was the right move. Dr. Leach saw my grandfather right away, and was very attentive and compassionate. My grandfather gave him the highest praise when he said, "Dr. Leach *listens.*" I was so glad I had the chance to thank him for that when he and his wife attended my dad's funeral back in 2011. Thanks for "being there" when we needed you; RIP.
Margaret O'Rourke Nowak
August 15, 2021
My condolences to the family. I was a cardiac patient with Dr. Leach for over 20 years. He had a way of practicing medicine which I labelled "participating doctoring". This involved the patient to get involved in the decision making process about one's health. Charlie would share Lancet information with me and we would discuss the pros and cons. He didn't let the AMA thought blinders guide his thinking. A case in point: I had been given a couple of stress tests with negative results. I knew I had a problem which was exacerbated with alcohol. I suggested that I drink a beer just before a stress test. He agreed. The stress test results proved positive and we were able to go forward after that with meds and rehab. He allowed me the extra years in life for which I am grateful.
alan stolarun
August 15, 2021
Dear Joan, Dave and I just read of Charlie's passing. It sounds like his support system was amazing. He was a very important person in my life. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Warm Regards, Linda
Linda and Dave Pescatello
August 15, 2021
My sympathies and love to the entire Leach family.
Anne Haviland Buechler
August 15, 2021
Charlie is one of those rarest of people: so smart, full of esoteric facts, kind, generous, and full of life. He´s the kind of person we should aspire to raise as parents and as a civilization. What a gift he was and what a loss!
Kate Emery
August 15, 2021
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