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On Sunday, November 18, 2018, Richard Elliott Leech, aka Ric Leach, loving son, brother, god parent, neighbor and friend, passed away peacefully in his sleep in his home in Santa Ana, CA surrounded by family and loved ones.
Ric was born January 17, 1949 in Long Beach, CA. to John Nicholas, USMC, and Marie Westbrook Leech. Born into a military family, Ric lived on various Marine bases in the U.S. and Naha, Okinawa. He attended Mater Dei High School and graduated from Santa High School in 1967.
In 1969 Ric served as a, GS-9 Forest Ranger Fire Fighter, also known as a “hotshot” in the Cleveland National Forest in San Bernardino, CA. As a member of the United States Air Force from 1969-1973, Ric was stationed in North Dakota before being deployed to Korea, where he served as part of the O.S.I./Security forces.
After being honorably discharged from the USAF, he began his college education in Providence, RI earning a BA in Government/ Economics from Brown University and a Master’s Degree in International Law from Georgetown University, Washington, DC. Upon graduation, he was employed by U.S. Telecom/ U.S. Sprint Corporation in the Toll Fraud Security dept, Kansas City, MO.
Following the passing of his father in 1987, Ric accepted the most challenging, noble, and fulfilling responsibility of his life as full-time caretaker of his beloved mother. He relocated to Santa Ana in 1989 and cared for her until her passing in 2006. During this period, he became an integral part of his community and neighborhood. He was a role model to many of the families in his neighborhood, always first to observe a need and lend a hand. To this day, he is referred to as ‘Uncle Ricky, Godfather Ric and ‘Daddy Ric’ due to the positive impact he had on so many lives. More recently, Ric also enjoyed being part of another ‘family’ forming lifelong friendships while working at the Ikea Corporation and the County of Orange.
Ric had a passion for politics, always speaking up for his personal convictions. Articulate in speaking and writing, Ric always prided himself with knowledge of current events. He would “hold court” with any willing audience. He also loved sports and played for and coached the men’s softball club, Blue Dot. His greatest passion was Boston’s own Red Sox and Celtics as well as Brown University, always making the annual trek to attend one or multiple games with beloved friends that he considered his East Coast family.
Ric was known for his quick wit, his infectious smile, and his kind, compassionate, and generous spirit. He was preceded in death by his parents and is survived by his two sisters, Allison Moore of Lemoore, CA, and Felicie ‘Fel’ Leech of Santa Rosa, CA, and several cousins, nieces, and nephews located on the East and Gulf Coasts.
The viewing vigil is scheduled for Sunday, December 9, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Brown Mortuary in Santa Ana. A Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, December 10, at St. Anne’s Church in Santa Ana. The family asks that in lieu of flowers please make a donation to the SPCA or any organization that cares for animals in honor of Ric.