Richard Lawrence LEEDS
May 31, 1948 – January 9, 2020
Rick Leeds was born May 31, 1948 and died January 9, 2020 at age 71, after a five-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Linda Leeds, his two adult sons, Josh and Stuss, his brother Ron and sister Andrea, and his beloved dog Dixie.
The middle child of Dr. Leonard and Sylvia Leeds, Rick grew up in New Jersey and spent much of his early life "down the shore." In one infamous incident, Rick was water-skiing behind the family boat when it suddenly hit an underwater piling. The boat came to an abrupt halt with the hull torn open and Rick went flying past on his water skis.
Rick was an athlete and played lacrosse and football in college at Steven's Institute of Technology and at WNEC (Western New England College). He earned a Master's in Business Administration from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut in 1972. It was after college when he was working as an engineer at Personal Products Inc. that he met Linda. They dated for two years before marrying in 1976.
In 1980 and 1983 their two sons were born in New Jersey. In 1986 the family was uprooted to Australia for a one-year work assignment in the food freezing industry. After a brief return to New Jersey, the family moved on to Denver, Colorado, where they built a house in an empty prairie field. Rick and Linda were active in whatever the boys were doing including little league sports, Cub Scouts, and eventually Boy Scouts. Notably, Rick led the boys and their friends on a multi-week canoe expedition to the Boundary Waters Wilderness north of Minnesota. He also led the Boy Scouts on a sailing expedition in the Florida Keys. He was extremely proud when both sons reached Eagle Scout rank.
In the late 1980's the family started taking vacations to Breckenridge, Colorado, where Rick taught the boys to ski. Early on, Linda picked the three of them up at the end of the day of skiing together and asked how it went. Rick replied: "It's a dream come true." A condo was purchased in Breckenridge and many holidays and vacations were passed there skiing in the daytime, 'Downstairs at Eric's' for dinner, and then with family time around the fire place in the evenings.
The family moved to St. Louis in 1994 and Rick founded a company called Cryogenic Resources. He specialized in liquid nitrogen and food freezing equipment, and his work took him all over the country and into many beef and poultry plants. Once the boys had graduated high school, Rick and Linda moved to Colorado Springs, where Rick continued to run his business. He carved out a niche as a rare individual who could talk engineering and technical specs, and also could charm people, network, and close deals.
In 2011 he and Linda bought a house in Sun City Grand, Arizona, and began their transition to retirement. After two seasons of being snowbirds, they sold their Colorado Springs house and became full-time Arizona residents. Rick's constant business trips were replaced with international travel and cruises with friends. He and Linda made multiple trips to Italy and France, and also visited Peru, Ecuador, the Galapagos, Tanzania, Netherlands, Alaska, and the exotic island of Zanzibar.
Rick loved to play tennis and played singles as often as five days a week. Rick would ride his bike to the tennis court in the morning, play tennis, pick up bagels on his bike ride home, and then enjoy his favorite meal - a bagel with lox and cream cheese. If Rick wasn't playing tennis, then it was pickle-ball or softball, where he specialized as a shortstop and left fielder. He loved playing sports and was a gifted athlete. He accumulated a number of athletic injuries over all the decades and every time he had to sit down with a doctor or surgeon, his first question was always "When can I get back to playing sports?" Rick also volunteered his time and reduced the cost of the softball league for all players by getting businesses to advertise on banners in the outfield.
Rick loved to socialize and he and Linda were known as consummate hosts - always coming up new themes for parties, from pool parties to a vodka tasting, a Kentucky Derby race party, a headless woman statue party and more. He loved living in Sun City Grand and made the most of the activities and friendships there.
Rick loved his wife, he loved his sons, he loved his family, and he loved his friends. He worked hard, he played hard; he lived a beautiful life and will be remembered fondly and missed dearly. Donations can be made in Rick's honor to the Mayo Clinic at: https://philanthropy.mayoclinic.org/donateMC
No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Richard Lawrence LEEDS
January 16, 2020
I remember meeting Rick for the first time when Stuss and I were crewing together on Peak 10. He was very jovial, exuberant, and up for any adventure-we took him to the primitive 'south side' of Peak 10 for several laps. I caught up with father and son at the top of Imperial several years later (he remembered me) after Stuss had led a high-angle rescue training. I saw then that the apple did not fall far from the tree. To Stuss and your loving family, heartfelt sorrow for your loss. March 2nd will mark a year since my similar experience. Your Dad was a lover of life, went out doing the things he loved...he's everywhere now. Best, Matt
January 16, 2020
So many fond memories of our families’ years together in Westfield. Josh “Paint da mouth” and our Boo-boo were inseparable, but my most vivid memory of all is Rick, on any given summer Sunday morning, barreling down the lane at Gumpert Park, believing in his heart of hearts that this time, yes, this time, it will be a successful slam dunk.
Will miss you, old friend.
Penny and Keith Pillsbury
January 16, 2020
We were shocked to read of Rick’s death and amazed on reading his obituary of the lively life he led. We loved meeting you both in Holland . You were unforgettable. Give yourself permission to grieve. It is hard to lose anyone you love,
We are keeping you and your family close to our hearts up here in snowy New England. Love and hugs, Penny and Keith Pillsbury
PS If you decide to visit Vermont you have a standing invitation to stay with us.