It is with immense sadness and sorrow that we announce the passing of Don Bradley Leahy. The loss was unexpected leaving family and friends completely devastated.
Don was born in Hollywood, California, to Stella and Arthur Leahy on September 27, 1939. After the death of his mother when he was twelve years old, he was sent to be raised by his uncle and aunt in Orinda, California, along with his dear brother, Patrick. Both boys were then sent to the Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad, California, an elite college- preparatory military boarding school for boys for their high school years. Don was an outstanding athlete at an early age and excelled in many sports throughout his high school years including basketball, volleyball, and all track and field events, earning the 1957 Breitbard Award as Track Athlete of the Year.
Don moved to Carson City in 1958 and enrolled in the University of Nevada earning a B.S. Degree majoring in Economics. While at UNR, Don joined the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and was elected both Social Chairman and Athletic Chairman. Don thoroughly enjoyed attending UNR and was always grateful for the lifelong SAE friendships that he developed.
Don had a strong work ethic and began his work career with the State of Nevada shortly after graduation from UNR. While still employed with the State, he enlisted in the Nevada Air National Guard in 1967 but was called into active duty by the US Air Force on January 26, 1968, three days after the USS Pueblo, a Naval Intelligence ship, was boarded and seized by the North Koreans on January 23, 1968. The “Pueblo Incident”, as it was known, kept the country on edge as it was expected that war would breakout at any moment to rescue the 89 men taken captive; however, they were released 11-months after capture on Christmas Eve. Don was Honorably discharged from military service after serving almost six years.
Don was blessed with three children that he deeply loved, Mike, Pat, and Erin, as well as two grandchildren. He made a point of attending as many of their after-school activities as possible, quietly cheering them on and was very proud of their accomplishments.
Don served as Chief of Personnel for the State of Nevada until his transfer to the Nevada Industrial Commission in 1979. He was an especially valued asset during the restructuring of the NIC into the State Industrial Insurance System and was in charge of their Personnel Division until his 30-year retirement in 1992.
Throughout his lifetime Don actively participated and was proficient in many sports, including the Carson City Men’s Softball League and Men’s Volleyball League, as well as many road and mountain bicycling trips throughout Nevada (he rode in the 100-mile California Death Ride three times). Being left-handed, Don had a love/hate relationship with the game of golf and said it was the only sport that could get the best of him, but he was completely obsessed by it. He thoroughly enjoyed golfing with his two sons and hitting buckets of balls with his daughter. Don was also an avid San Francisco 49ers fan and couldn’t wait until the weekend to attend a game in San Francisco or to watch it on television, telling anyone that would listen that they were the absolute Best Team.
Don had a heart of gold and was a Superman when it came to animals, whether domestic or wild, and spent much of his free time hiking the hills in the Carson City area with his wife and the love of his life, Tina Leahy, and his beloved yellow lab, Bobbie. He especially enjoyed exploring the Nevada backroads and coming across bear, bobcats, and Mule deer while driving his yellow 1973 VW Thing, with Tina in the passenger seat and Bobbie sitting upright in the backseat. Don was an outstanding cook and enjoyed having family and friends over for dinner and good conversation. But he also enjoyed those quiet evenings of just taking it easy with a vodka or two (or three) and a good book at the end of the day.
Don had a wonderful mischievous streak and a great sense of humor along with an enormously kind heart. He was a generous man and believed in helping those less fortunate than himself through the tough times. He generously donated to the American Red Cross, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Nevada Humane Society, and frequently and anonymously paid veterinary bills in full for people he didn’t know.
Don was a loving husband and is survived by his wife and constant companion of 43 years, Tina, whom he always called his sweetheart, son Mike (Danae), grandchildren Connor and Kylar, and brother Patrick Thomas Leahy of Eugene, Oregon, in addition to many other nieces and nephews.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, son Patrick Shannon, daughter Erin Kimberly, as well as lifelong friend and the mother of his children, Lorraine Odell Leahy.
Don is truly missed in so many ways.