Frederick B. Lea, father of longtime Staples coach Jeff Lea, died last Friday. He was 95.
Mr. Lea was a retired sales manager with Celanese Coatings. A resident of Westwood, Mass. for 58 years, he and his wife, Martha Taylor Lea, recently moved to New Pond Village in Walpole, Mass.
Born in Prince Edward Island, Canada in 1915, Frederick moved to Hull, Mass. with his large family in 1925. He graduated from Boston University in 1937 with a B.S. in chemistry. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.
In World War II Lea served with the U.S. Army, Medical Administrative Corps, as a company commander. As Medical Supply Officer of the 4th Armored Division (“Spearhead”) of General Patton’s Third Army, Captain Lea was the 1st medical officer to enter Buchenwald concentration camp. He ordered the establishment of an evacuation hospital to treat prisoners in their first hours of liberation.
Awarded a Bronze Star and 5 campaign stars, Mr. Lea was authorized to wear the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon and the French Fourragère.
A 60-year member of First Parish of Westwood – United Church, Mr. Lea was moderator for numerous years and served on many boards and committees. A particular focus was mentoring youth. At schools, colleges, synagogues and churches, he spoke out against violence, anti-Semitism and racism.
Besides Martha, his wife of 68 years, and his son Jeff of Fairfield, Conn. and Glen, N.H., he is survived by his daughter, Lucinda Lea of Philadelphia, PA.; his grand-daughter, Amanda Katherine Lea of Warren, VT, and Jeff’s wife, Katherine Steele Lea.
He also leaves two sisters, Marion Cushing of Arlington, Mass. and Helen Edmunds of Huntingtown, Md., and many beloved nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.He was predeceased by his sisters Jennie Jenkins of Prince Edward Island, and Hilda Bedford of Hingham, Mass., as well as brothers Harry (in infancy), George of Arlington, Mass., and William of Hingham.
A memorial service at First Parish Church is planned for Saturday, February 26, at 2 p.m. Interment will take place in early summer at the Quaker Cemetery in North Sandwich, N.H. The mountains, rivers and lakes in and near Whiteface have always been of special importance in the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Lea and their family.