James Michael “Mike” Leahy, 71, of Stonington, father of 1989 Staples captain Mike Leahy, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, April 5 at the Rhode Island Hospital in Providence.
Born in Laconia, New Hampshire, he lived in Stonington for the past decade. He previously resided in West Hartford and Westport, where one of his favorite activities was watching his son play with the Wreckers and his club teams.
Mike was a member of 2 Laconia High School state championship ski teams, and was a nationally ranked water ski jumper in the 1950s. He graduated from the University of Connecticut.
Professionally, Mike spent 25 years in the advertising business in New York and London. He was executive vice president and managing director at Saatchi & Saatchi, and held earlier positions with Young & Rubicam, Needham Harper & Steers and Dancer Fitzgerald Sample.
His clients included P&G, Bristol-Myers, Sara Lee, M&M Mars, Xerox and the United States Olympic Committee.
In 1991, Mike launched his own consulting business, providing marketing services to Connecticut Departments of Labor, Health and Tourism, The Newspaper Association of America, Drugs Don’t Work!, Special Olympics World Games, Forbes, Business Week and 3 Connecticut governors through the Connecticut Economic Resource Center.
Mike served on the board of directors for Special Olympics Connecticut, Stonington Free Library, Stonington Village Improvement Association and Stonington Harbor Yacht Club.
In addition to his wife, Deborah Kotchen, he is survived by 2 children from a former marriage with Carol Leahy of Westport, daughter Wendy
Leahy and her husband Michael Grand of Brooklyn, N.Y.; son Michael Leahy and his wife Aimee of Brooklyn, N.Y.; 3 step-children, and 5 beloved grandchildren, including Mia Leahy.
Mike was an avid sailor and skier with boundless energy, and his sense of humor, selflessness and kind heart will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at 11 a.m. April 20, at the Calvary Church in Stonington.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of J. Michael Leahy to Special Olympics Connecticut, 2666 State St., Hamden, CT 06517.