A MESSAGE FROM THE FAMILY

A Live-Streaming of the Mass of Christian Burial for Chris Leech is available for your viewing at the Facebook page for Southern Heritage Funeral Home, Pelham, Alabama.
OBITUARY

Christopher Harold Leech

August 4, 1972January 7, 2021
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Christopher Harold Leech of Vestavia Hills, Alabama passed away suddenly on the morning of January 7, 2021 from a heart attack at the young age of 48.

Chris is survived by his wife, Tabitha; two daughters, Eva (11) and Cora (2); his mother, Lynette Leech; sister and brother-in-law, Marie and John Santamour, and their three children, Emily, Sydney, and Michael; as well as numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

Chris is preceded in death by his father, William Leech, who died the same way just seven months ago. They are no doubt together yelling “Roll Tide” right now in great anticipation of the National Championship football game being played this week between Alabama and Ohio State.

Chris was a Senior Vice President at Regions Bank, where he worked for almost 27 years. He began as a teller in a branch in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in May 1994 while attending college at the University of Alabama. He held multiple leadership, executive, and mentorship roles throughout his successful career.

As this obituary began to be written, the song “I’ll Be Seeing You” as sung by Billie Holiday came on in the background. It could not have been a more fitting song. For anyone who had the pleasure to know Chris, we will be seeing him "in all the old familiar places” for many years to come. His personality was such a force that commanded attention and earned unbelievable dedication and loyalty from family, friends, and colleagues.

Whether you knew Chris from years ago or only had recently met him, the reality is that you KNEW Chris. He wanted to have that personal connection with everyone and people gravitated to him like a sun in a solar system because of it.

Chris was the driving force of so many of the friendship connections reading this. How many times did he bring different groups of friends together? Whether it was old high school and college friends, work colleagues, or the large group of people he tailgated with on football Saturdays in Tuscaloosa, Chris had a way of convincing people that the more truly was the merrier.

While he was a person who facilitated new friendships, Chris was sure to maintain old ones. He was a life-long friend, the kind of man who made people feel important. These friends truly became family.

In his work life, Chris was a consummate and focused professional. The loyalty he inspired had a way of making his teams far exceed expectations. He is known and respected across the bank and has been known to describe himself as bleeding Regions green.

The passion Chris had for life was contagious and he was constantly focused on how to bring more fun to us. He could be boisterous and loud with an unrealistic perspective that he somehow was not being heard by those across the room. His passion for sports, in particular those associated with the University of Alabama was intense. He was so very excited about the National Championship and was on pins and needles since he heard there was a chance that Jaylen Waddle may be back on the field for the game, saying “I’m going to lose it if Waddle comes out to play Monday-- can you imagine?!?! The team is going to go crazy!”

Chris was the guy to make sure there was a very large and loud speaker with plenty of music available whether for tailgates or for the annual father/daughter Indian Princess campout trips he participated in with his oldest daughter, Eva. He was an organizer of cornhole tournaments and Mardi Gras weekends in Orange Beach, Ala. Chris had a precious relationship with his daughters, always the sideline coach cheering on Eva whether it was for soccer, tennis, or that “A” she scored on the math test she had been nervous about. Cora is his mini me in personality and spunk and she was and is a Daddy's girl through and through. The greatest of all though is that Chris was a pain in the neck and loving husband, a phenomenal and devoted father to his two beautiful girls, and a loyal and caring son and brother. All of his girls long for the day they can hear his laugh again in Heaven. And who knows what Chris and his father, Bill, will get into while we wait for that reunion. Visitation for Chris will be held from 9:15 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church in Indian Springs, Alabama on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. The Mass of Christian Burial will begin promptly at 10 a.m. at the church. Burial will follow at Southern Heritage Cemetery in Pelham, Alabama.

Masks will be required at the visitation and Mass on Tuesday, and we ask that everyone please be mindful that we have family and close friends who are at high risk to COVID exposure so please follow safety guidelines.

In lieu of flowers, donations to Oak Mountain Missions will be appreciated. Ensuring families had food on their tables was a cause that Chris was concerned about, given the hardships so many have experienced due to COVID.

Services

  • Visitation

    Tuesday, January 12, 2021

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Memories

Christopher Harold Leech

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Evelyn Mitchell

January 17, 2021

To Tabitha and family. Thinking of you all given this incredibly sad news. I will always remember Chris' smile, energy, kindness, and genuine interest in people.

Rex Bradley

January 14, 2021

Tabitha, I learned from Barb that Chris suddenly passed away. I am so sorry to learn of your loss. I am sure that may happy memories will help you through this difficult time. Rex Bradley

Nina Kunstmann-Barbao

January 14, 2021

Chris was the Branch Manager in Crestline Village when I was sent there in 2001 after several other MLO's found that Branch a bit overwhelming. We were both the ones that stayed late to make calls and catch up on the day. I was upstairs and his office was just below our balcony. We would shoot rubber bands at one another when checking to see who would be last out the doors. Or just wanting to aggravate! We would laugh at the amount of them on the ledge of his office enclosure! Chris remained a good friend through the years. I will miss that smile and our heart felt Roll Tide exchanges!

Jill Barrett

January 12, 2021

Dear Leech family, I am so very sorry for your loss. Like a lot of people, I worked with Chris and met him about 9 years ago. He was always so warm, friendly and personable and would always speak when he saw me around the building. He will absolutely be missed, and I will be praying for your family through this difficult time.

Michelle Moreino

January 12, 2021

Devastated to hear the news about Chris. Yet another unimaginable loss for (niece/cousin) Lynette, Marie, Tabitha and all the family. What a pair Bill and Chris will make... Heaven will never be the same! Our hearts go out to all of you who loved him so well in life. We feel blessed to have known him, even if for too short a while.

All our Love, Uncle Jerry, Aunty Cyria, Michelle & Alastair

Grayson Hall

January 12, 2021

My sincere regrets to the family and deepest sympathies for your tragic loss of a tremendous person in Chris at such a young age. But in our lives on earth we can on hope and pray that our existence makes a valuable and meaningful impact on the lives that we touch. I am encouraged by and blessed by the opportunity to have worked with Chris and to have experienced his positive influence on so many in his years of service. May we now stop for a moment and pray that his life will make an everlasting impact each of us as we celebrate the blessing of his life and the moments we shared. My deepest sympathies.

Sara Jennings

January 11, 2021

My deepest sympathy and condolences to Tabitha, Ava, Cora and the Leech Family. I met Chris at Regions as did so many. I am glad we had the opportunity to work together for 6 years. Devastated that Chris was taken so soon. Heaven has gained another angel. Roll Tide my friend!

Chad Cargile

January 11, 2021

My Deepest condolences to Tabitha and the Leech family. I first met Chris almost 25 years ago when he was a teller at the Inverness branch. Even then you knew Chris had that "it" factor. It has been one of my greatest pleasures to see Chris grow both professionally and personally. Chris was a great banker but an even better person and friend. He will be greatly missed.
Chad

Lloyd Noronha

January 11, 2021

From as early as I can remember I’ve tried to emulate Christopher Leech. Not having my own big brother, I always looked up to Chris as my big cousin. I tried to dress like Chris, play sports like Chris and speak like Chris (minus some of the southern twang). Through childhood and adulthood north only met south once or twice a year, but those times were so intensely memorable that they helped shape who I am today.

Chris was a natural born leader and combined with his sincere family values, this made him a central figure in our gatherings. We had several escapades together as younger adults in both Canada and down south. Chris never missed an opportunity to lead whatever group he was in towards an amazing experience. Many of these stories will be best shared in the future over a drink and a smile of fondness for Chris’ antics.

Chris, as I knew him, had a deeply sensitive side as well. I remember having discussions with him on many separate occasions about his family, including A. Lyn/U. Bill, Marie, Tabitha and Eva (sadly, we hadn’t been together in this kind of setting since Cora was born). He was deeply devoted to his family. This sensitivity went beyond the immediate family to extended family and friends alike. For my part, while I adored Chris, he knew exactly what I needed and would never miss an opportunity to whisper to me during a hug that he was “proud of me” or “I love you little man”.

I’m obviously not so little anymore and have a wife and three kids of my own, but the memories and characteristics of Chris that I've tried so hard to emulate, will be with me for life. I love you big man, rest in peace.

Marian Arora

January 11, 2021

Our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Leech and Noronha families. We are so sadden for your loss and shocked Chris was taken so young.
Love, The Arora Family

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