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Brown-Wynne Funeral Home

1701 East Millbrook Road, Raleigh, NC

OBITUARY

Walter Winston Leach

May 18, 1936September 4, 2020

Walter W. Leach crossed his final bridge on September 4, 2020. Walter (“Mickey” until he graduated from college) was born in Radford, Virginia on May 18, 1936. He was the only child of Rollie E. Leach and Helen W. Leach. He moved around during his childhood as his father built bridges for Bowers Construction Company. After graduating from Radford High School, Walter attended Virginia Military Institute as his father had before him, graduating in 1958 with a degree in Civil Engineering. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers and completed the Engineer Officer Basic Course at Ft. Belvoir. When his active duty commitment was up, he transferred to the Ready Reserve and began a limited term of service as a Citizen Soldier, supporting US Navy construction activities in Norfolk, Virginia in addition to his full time work with Bowers, building bridges in the Baltimore-Washington metro area as well as Newark, Delaware, including the still-standing tri-level bridge on the Baltimore Beltway at I-70 and the since-demolished bridges at the Washington Beltway southern intersection with I-95 formerly known as the Mixing Bowl. By 1965, he was promoted to Vice President and moved his family to Raleigh. He worked for Bowers for almost 30 years before the company was liquidated during the highway construction slump of the mid-1980s. After a time with the pavement division of CC Mangum, he finished his professional career with T & H Electrical out of Wilson, NC, focused on highway signage. He remained an engineer at heart for his entire life, always finding new uses for items around the house.

Walter actually did marry his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth A. Miller, immediately after graduation from VMI, and they launched off into a life of friendships and occasional adventures. Liz walked into every room treating it as a room full of friends, and Walter happily followed in her wake. They raised three sons in Raleigh and were long-time members of Hayes Barton UMC, where Walter sang in the choir for more than 30 years. Walter and Liz were able to travel to Hawaii, Japan, and Israel, but deeply loved Raleigh as their home. With Liz’s consent, Walter bought Big Red, a Honda Gold Wing motorcycle that took them “all over.” He used to tell the story of a time on the road when he was getting irritated because she kept tapping his helmet but would not respond when he asked what she wanted. She was sleeping on the back of that bike! They began to keep a tally of the states they visited on the bike, and visiting each of the Lower 48 states became a goal. Within three months of their retirements, Liz was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, and Walter had a new mission. They met the challenge head-on, with both determination and a shared sense of humor, and fought together for nine years before the battle finally ended. After their 48-year journey together ended, Walter planned to get back on Big Red and visit the remaining states on the list, and he was ultimately successful. Over time, his world grew smaller and he began to show increasing symptoms of dementia, finally moving into assisted living, then into memory care. Some say that when dementia sets in, people revert to their true selves. Walter remained a gentleman in the traditional sense, and he was blessed with the ability to sleep almost anywhere and eat almost anything, so he remained content to the end of his life.

In addition to his parents and his wife, Walter was predeceased by their youngest son, Stephen M. Leach. He is survived by two sons, Walter “Harry” Leach (Dawn) and David E. Leach (Darlene), and by four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

He will be interred in Raleigh Memorial Park on Thursday, September 10 in a private family ceremony, assisted by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home.

Services

No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Memories

Walter Winston Leach

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Will Bynum

September 9, 2020

I met your dad when we moved to Raleigh in 1996 and joined Hayes Barton UMC. We shared a love of VMI as we both were graduates. I connected with he and your mom through that bond. He was a wonderful man and I will miss him. Blessings for all of you during this difficult time.

Cheryl Hall

September 9, 2020

Walter and Liz were long-time church friends of my parents. Walter was especially supportive of them during my mother’s last years spent in a nursing facility and for that we are most appreciative. I was sorry to see Walter’s smiling face on the obit page but glad to know he went gently into that good night to be reunited with Liz. Sending sympathy and blessings to Harry, David, and families.

Cheryl (Burgess) Hall

Mary Holloway

September 9, 2020

I am sorry for the loss of your Father. Your Dad and your Mother were long time friends at Hayes Barton as well as supporters of my time at Douglas Elementary School, as school librarian. My best wishes for you, Harry and David, and your families, stay safe and well. God’s peace.
Mary and Don Holloway

Donna Williams

September 9, 2020

I remember your Dad taking our children and other neighbor children for a ride in his big barrel that he used for his garden. He would run around in our court with the children, who are all grown up now, and I don’t know who had more fun...the children or your Dad.

Love and miss both of your parents.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

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