Kenneth & Mary Leasure of Longford Lake
Mr. and Mrs. Leasure were early and enthusiastic supporters of The Community Foundation. Although Mary passed away in 2000, merely two years after the formation of The Community Foundation, Ken remained a loyal friend of Foundation activities up until his passing in April of 2008. Together they formed the The Mary and Kenneth Leasure Fund, as well as The Friends of Salt Springs Fund. After Mary's death Ken established the Mary K. Leasure Fund to provide for the upkeep of The Mary Leasure Memorial Bench at Salt Springs State Park in one of Mary's favorite spots at the park.
Ken was very supportive of The Community Foundation also serving Wyoming County and anonymously provided a grant from The Mary and Kenneth Leasure Fund to cover the initial expenses of that endeavor. After the Flood of 2006 he again anonymously donated a grant to the United Way of Susquehanna County to help with the expenses of providing clothing and food to families devasted by the flood.
Ken graduated from Beaver High School in Beaver, Pennsylvania in 1941. From a family of modest means he immediately joined the Air Force to both serve his country and to help provide himself an education should he survive the tribulations of World War II. He served as a Navigator on B-24 Bombers with the 485th Heavy Bomb Group in Africa and Europe. He flew 50 missions including over Munich and Ploesti. He was awarded the Silver Star, Purple Heart, and the Air Medal with several clusters.
After the war he used the GI Bill to attend school year-round to complete both his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan and to earn his Juris Doctoral degree from the Michagan Law School in 1949.
Ken practiced law in Endicott, New York for more than 50 years before retiring as Senior Partner from his law firm, Leasure, Gow, Munk & Rizzuto. He also served in the New York State Ligislature from 1968 to 1973 as Assemblyman from Broome and Tioga Counties. Ken was a former President of the Broome County Bar Association, member of the New York State Bar Association, a former Board member of the Endicott Trust Company, a former director of the Binghamton Country Club, and a past president of the Endicott Kiwanis Club. Ken was also instrumental in the establishment of the Longford Lake residential community near Brackney, Pennsylvania and was a member of the E.L. Rose Conservancy of Susquehanna County.
After his retirement Ken and Mary enjoyed traveling widely and spent part of each year in Hawaii. Both of them had a quiet but profound effect upon our region. The Community Foundation, and the citizens and organizations it serves, owe Ken and Mary a debt of gratitude for their foresight in encouraging what was then a fledgling organization, and for their willingness to provide substantial support to ensure its sustainability. Due to their early confidence all three of their funds, and The Community Foundation itself, will permanently serve Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties.