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Richard W. Leach

Date of Death: February 2, 2020

Date of Birth: June 28, 1930


Richard W. Leach, 89, passed away peacefully at home in Maine, where he recently resided with his eldest daughter and her husband. He was born in Danbury, CT, to George C. Leach, Jr., and Viola Schmid. He is survived by his wife, Carol; children Carol, Jean, Paula, and Richard; and three grandchildren. He was predeceased by his sister, Louise, and is survived by his brother, George, and a number of nieces and nephews.

Captivated by art from an early age, Richard began earning recognition for his creative talent in student competitions, including the Scholastic Art Awards. After high school he served in the US Navy for a year and continued as a reservist. He attended the Whitney School of Art in New Haven, CT, the Art Students League in New York City, and Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

Richard’s long and fulfilling career in New York City spanned an exciting half-century of change in commercial art and graphic design. He started out working as a staff artist for Popular Science magazine and handling freelance illustration and design projects for various art studios and advertising agencies in Manhattan. He created artwork for magazines, textbooks, and children’s books, and designed corporate and national publications. After a period of freelancing for Scholastic Inc. as an illustrator, designer, and consulting art director, he joined the company for several years. As an art director in multiple departments at Scholastic, he was instrumental in shaping the visual style of books, magazines, journals, posters, educational filmstrips, and more. He also designed promotional materials and exhibition catalogs for the company’s national awards programs and served as a judge for the Scholastic Art Awards. Richard subsequently established his own studio, providing diverse advertising, editorial, and corporate graphic design services to marketing and communications firms, educational publishers, and other clients throughout the latter half of his career.

Those who knew Richard will remember him for his ingenuity and wit, passion for art and design, and creative approach to life. A skillful do-it-yourselfer, he planted gardens, repaired all things mechanical, and tackled ambitious home renovations with resourcefulness and flair. He enjoyed fishing, camping, playing chess, and visiting the great art museums of New York. He was a lifelong learner, whether keeping up with the evolving technologies of his trade or immersing himself in personal interests ranging from film and photography to jazz. Richard valued the many people who influenced his life and career. He spoke with grateful appreciation of the friends, teachers, mentors, colleagues, and others who helped, in large ways or small, to shape his path.

Richard’s family expresses thanks for the assistance of local health care professionals, and for the skilled and compassionate care provided by the nurses, home health aides, and volunteers of CHANS Home Health & Hospice.

The family will hold a private celebration of Richard’s life at a later date. Contributions in his memory may be made to UNICEF or the American Red Cross.

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