Garry Elwin Leach, age 76, of the Marion Center area, passed away on May 4, 2021 as a result of Covid complications. Born on May 13, 1944, to Elwin and Lois (Barber) Leach of Scranton, he was the eldest of four children.
Garry was a graduate of Scranton Central where he was a champion swimmer. Garry, a true outdoorsman who loved and lived for hunting and fly fishing, escaped the city of Scranton each summer and weekends to go to his Grandpa Barber’s dairy farm in Wayne County to help. His passion for the outdoors led him to a forestry degree from Penn State where he often went squirrel hunting while ‘studying’ for his finals.
Soon after his first assignment as a service forester for the PA Bureau of Forestry (now DCNR) in Tioga County, he was drafted by Uncle Sam to serve the Army as a sergeant from 1966 to 1969 serving in Korea. After his tour of duty, he was assigned to Indiana County as a service forester working out of the Ebensburg district office of DCNR. He served in this job for 40 years retiring in 2007.
Garry was confirmed ‘bachelor’ until he met Pat Hart, then family living educator for Penn State Cooperative Extension in Indiana County. He and Pat met at the Indiana County Fair just one week before Pat left for graduate school in North Carolina. They attributed their first date to the late Indiana County Fair Director Tom Mikesell. You see, Tom gave Pat two tickets to the Bobby Vinton Show, the featured fair performance that year and Pat boldly asked Garry to go with her. Despite Pat’s one year in graduate school, they were married one year later on August 29, 1970 and recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2020.
Garry’s forestry job led to many adventures such as fighting the dangerous fires in the steep Pack Saddle area of southern Indiana County and numerous search and rescue operations in the dense forests of Central and Western PA. He was a member of the PA Search and Rescue Team.
He was a highly recognized instructor on chain saw safety and was assigned to do training all over the state for state park, fire company and DCNR workers prior to his retirement from DCNR in 2007.
He was a 15-year member of the Marion Center Fire Department where he oversaw the construction of the addition to their building a few years ago. His carpentry and framing skills helped build the first stage of the Bethany Chapel Church in Marion Center. He and his wife were charter members of the Knotty Pines Square Dance Club in Indiana in their early years. And, just recently, he became a member of the Shade Mountain Archery Group in Snyder County. For 26 years he never missed the Denton Hill Traditional Archery Event in Potter County except during the 2020 Covid shutdown. He made so many friends at this event.
He had a few adventures of elk hunting in Colorado, a moose hunting trip to Alberta Canada with his son Lorne, and several moose hunting trips in Newfoundland.
He is survived by two children: son, Lorne Leach and daughter, Dr. Erin Brehm (Jay) both of Huntingdon County. He was so proud of his PSU graduate children as they chose careers in landscaping and veterinary science, a passion of his. He instilled a love of the outdoors, especially shooting the traditional bow, in his young grandchildren, Seth, Mahala, and Adelaide Brehm and Daniel Leach. The older ones even attended bow shoots with him.
Surviving are three siblings; Janet Blickens (George) of Clark Summit, PA; David Leach (Marcia) of Hendersonville, N.C. and Bruce Leach (Dorothy) of Lenoxville, PA. Cousin Greg Barber of Factoryville and brother-in-law Dave Hart of Mercer also survive as do numerous nieces and nephews.
He also leaves behind his very special friend and fly fishing buddy, John Vilcek. When Spring fly fishing season opens, you’d find them on the banks of the Tionesta River; but then on the way home, they’d stop at Joe’s Drive In in Punxsutawney for a huge ice cream cone. He also leaves behind a very special four-footed furry Fox Red Lab puppy named Ginger, who he was just beginning to train.
The Leach family asks that any memorial donations be made to the Marion Center Fire Company c/o of the Marion Center Bank, Marion Center, PA 15759.
The family wishes to recognize the doctors and nurses of the Punxsutawney Hospital for all the special care given to Garry in his last days. These ‘angels’ are the real heroes in this battle against Covid.
As per Garry’s request, he will be cremated with no special services to be planned at this time. A special ‘Celebration of Life’ service will be announced at a later date. The McCabe~Roof Funeral Home, 565 Franklin St. Clymer, PA is assisting the Leach Family.
On line condolences may be made at www.mccaberooffh.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Garry E. Leach, please visit our floral store.