Sept. 16, 1961 — Dec. 13, 2018
Maureen Frances Leahy was one of a large South Buffalo Irish Catholic family. And although she lived in Greenville, S.C., her local ties remained strong, said her son, Chris Hawley, a Buffalo resident and city planner.
"In visits home to Buffalo, she never missed a Lake Erie sunset or beef on weck at Gene McCarthy's tavern," he said.
Ms. Leahy, who had struggled with depression, died unexpectedly Dec. 13 in her home in Greenville. She was 57 and worked as a registered nurse.
She was born Sept. 16, 1961, one of nine children of Francis and Margaret (Hayes) Leahy, who lived in Holy Family Parish in South Buffalo. Mr. Leahy worked at Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna.
A 1979 graduate of South Park High School, she married Ronald Hawley in 1982 and they raised their children in Colden. They later divorced.
Ms. Leahy earned an associate's degree in nursing from Trocaire College in 1993. She worked as a cardiac nurse from 1993 to 2017, most recently in the St. Francis Health System in Greenville, where "she was a highly respected and skilled cardiac nurse," said her son.
"She was a sweetheart with tremendous empathy," he said. "And that worked very well for her in the nursing profession."
Ms. Leahy was an avid traveler. When her son Chris was a teenager, they would take day trips to small towns they would pick on the map, or long weekends in Chicago, Savannah, Ga. or Key West, Fla.
"Once we were adults she became a jet-setter," he said, " visiting places as far-flung as South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Ireland. Her favorite city was Barcelona, where she loved the food, architecture and great deals on clothing." Ms. Leahy eventually visited 16 countries on four continents.
"My mom was a good handyman and homemaker," said her daughter, Alicia Hawley Ruby. "Her chocolate chip brownies were sought after at family gatherings, and I'll never forget her reading me 'Goodnight Moon' and singing 'You Are My Sunshine' as a child."
Her son said that Ms. Leahy loved purses and coats, vintage objects and bargain hunting.
"She was a devoted mother with a joy for life and warm heart, and known to 'tell you like it is' Buffalo style," said Chris Hawley.
Besides her son and daughter, Ms. Leahy is survived by another son, Nathaniel Hawley; a granddaughter, Emilia Joyce Ruby, born Dec. 3; two sisters, Margaret Chang and Rose Pierzchala; and five brothers, Michael, Bobby, Patrick, Brian and John Leahy. Her older sister Carol Dillon died in 2007.
A celebration of life service will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 12 in First Presbyterian Church, 1 Symphony Circle.