SOUTH NEW BERLIN — Arthur G. Leech, 75, of South New Berlin passed away peacefully on Tuesday, June 25, 2002, after an extended illness.
Born March 7, 1927, in the Town of Butternut, he was the son of Arthur and Georginez (Camp) Leech.
Arthur attended school in Mount Upton and Johnson City. Before completing his schooling, at the age of 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy on March 22, 1944. He received his five weeks' recruit training at Sampon, N.Y. He was a gunner's mate on the USS Nantahala and the USS Rehoboth, serving his country during World War II. He received the American Theatre Medal, Asiatic Pacific Medal Six star, Philippine Liberation Ribbon-Single star and a Victory Medal. The entire crew he shipped with refused the Purple Heart. Arthur was honorably discharged from the Navy, separating from Lido Beach, Long Island, N.Y., on May 26, 1946. Arthur was a lifetime member of VFW Post 2782. Upon completing his stay in the military, Arthur held many jobs before he found his true passion. He worked for Gorton Construction and numerous other construction companies, where he developed and fine-tuned his carpentry skills. He went into the business of furniture making and refinishing. Arthur could take any old piece of wood and turn it into a work of art.
Arthur enjoyed spending time with his family, especially his children and grandchildren. A favorite pastime was going for rides in the country, where he would always have an eye open for a new fishing hole. He found a lot of pleasure in helping his sons operate their businesses, "The Barn," an antique and collectibles shop, and "Art's Auto Refinishing and Wise Guy's Towing."
Arthur is survived by his companion and friend, Shirley Haynes, of South New Berlin; his daughters, Barbara Gerken and her husband, Paul ,of Fort Wayne, Ind., and Diane Parker and her husband, Christopher, of Norwich; and his sons, James Sanborn (Leech) of Morristown, N.J., Arthur Leech of Norwich and Curtis Leech and his wife, Darlene, of Guilford. He is also survived by his sister, Juanita Nichols of South New Berlin; three brothers, James Leech of Garrattsville, Edward Leech of Mount Upton and William Leech of South New Berlin; 11 grandchildren, Rachel Molino, Jolene Sanborn, Edward Boyer, Jon Gerken, Geoffrey and Jennifer Parker, Derrick Balcom, and Melissa, Kyle, Katy and Kayla Leech; and three great-grandchildren, Kayla Molino and Tyler and Christopher Gerken. Arthur also leaves behind Linda Mills, whom he raised from the time she was a small child, as well as his beloved birds Wally and Jake; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was predeceased by his parents, his brothers, Robert, Donald and Alan Leech, and his sisters, Alma Bresee and Marian Berube.
Graveside funeral services for Arthur will be held at the Butternut Valley Cemetery in Mount Upton, at 1 p.m. on Monday, July 1, with the Rev. Romeyn Kipp, pastor of the Holmesville Baptist Church, will officiate. Burial with full military rites will follow.
The family has requested no calling hours.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Chenango County, 21 Hayes St., Norwich, NY 13815.
Arrangements are by the R. J. Fahy Funeral Home of Norwich.
Published in The Daily Star on June 29, 2002.