Wilmington - Jeffrey David Leary, age 51, passed away unexpectedly during a Father’s Day run with friends on June 21, 2020. He was an amazing husband; a devoted father of two teen-agers; a greatly loved son, brother, and uncle; a kind and generous friend; a patient coach; a highly valued co-worker; and an excellent natural athlete.
Jeff was born on November 13, 1968 in West Chester, PA to Charles and Elaine Leary. A graduate of West Chester East HS 1986, he went on to earn a degree in Nuclear Engineering from Penn State University in 1990 and added an MBA from the University of Delaware in 1995. His 30-year career as a Nuclear Engineer focused on the development and maintenance of safety and probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) programs for nuclear power plants across the U.S. and internationally, most recently as a PRA Group Supervisor for Enercon Services. Jeff was an expert in his field and was known for his meticulous attention to detail. His colleagues had a great respect for his technical expertise and strong ethical sense, and also appreciated his guidance and support as a supervisor.
Family was the most important thing in the world to Jeff, and above all accomplishments, he wanted to be remembered as a good father and a good person. He married Karen (Foley) Leary on April 27, 2002 and loved her with all his heart. He was incredibly proud of his son Brendan, age 16, and daughter Megan, age 14. Jeff thoroughly enjoyed attending all of Brendan’s musical performances and marching band competitions, as well as coaching both children in creative problem solving through Odyssey of the Mind. Jeff also relished coaching Megan for years for the Talleyville Softball League and most recently serving as assistant coach for her travel team. He was thrilled to win, but he was always calm and soft-spoken, ready with a positive word when any player was nervous or feeling down. His “three #1 rules” were: never argue with the umpire, learn from your mistakes, and have fun.
Jeff loved sports and competition and believed that exercising the body helped in exercising the mind. He had a long-running, good-natured Penn State vs Pitt rivalry with his brother. Jeff always gave 110% effort, from tennis to road races to backyard football, and he was virtually unbeatable at strategic board games. In particular, he was passionate about karate, spending 18+ years of disciplined training in the traditional Okinawan martial art Goju-ryu under Sensei J. Lee, for whom he had tremendous respect. Jeff rose to become an instructor and was instrumental in managing the dojo’s finances and helping it create a tax-exempt charity.
In addition to his wife and children, Jeff is survived by his father, Charles Leary; his brother John (Amy) Leary; his sister-in-law Maureen Radue; his nieces Shannon Leary, Mara (Stephen) Beresford, and Amanda Radue; and his nephew, Matthew Radue. Jeff was preceded in death by his mother, Elaine Leary, and his in-laws, Frank and Joan Foley.
A celebration of Jeff’s life will be held on Thursday, July 30 from 6:30-8pm at the Blue Ball Barn (1914 W. Park Drive, Wilmington, DE 19803). At 7:00pm, a time of sharing memories will be presented by the family. The event will be held outside with social distancing rules observed and masks required for attendees. For anyone who cannot attend the service due to health or other concerns, there will be an optional car drive-by condolence line from 8–9 pm. The event will also be webcast live via Facebook. In the fall, there will be a special tree planting in Jeff’s memory at Bonsall Park. More information will be provided and the link provided below when arrangements for the FB webcast and fall tree planting are finalized.
In memory of Jeff, donations may be made to Make-A-Wish® Philadelphia, Delaware & Susquehanna Valley, Delaware Office 100 W. 10th Street, Suite 106, Wilmington, DE 19801 or www.philadesv.wish.org.
If you plan on attending or watching the webcast of Jeff’s Celebration of Life on July 30, please open the link below for logistic planning to ease the concerns for Karen and the family, Thank you.
This should link to a YouTube page, where a short video with info about the service will play automatically until the live stream begins.
Schedule of the night
6:30-7 - arrival, parking, tent open, view picture boards and get index card to write a memory or whatever
7-8:30 - prepared speakers and time for attendees to share a story/memory then slideshow.
8:30-9 - car condolence line