Sept. 3, 1927 — Aug. 7, 2019
Monsignor Leon M. Neu, pastor of St. Martin’s Catholic Church in South Buffalo for 18 years, died Aug. 7 in Erie County Medical Center after a brief illness. He was 91.
Born in Buffalo, the youngest of five children, he grew up in Cheektowaga and attended Our Lady Help of Christians School. A 1941 graduate of Canisius High School, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Canisius College in 1945 and studied at Christ the King Seminary at St. Bonaventure University. He was ordained June 7, 1952, in St. Joseph New Cathedral by Bishop Joseph A. Burke.
After serving a year at St. John’s Missions in Waynesville, N.C., he returned to assignments as parochial vicar at Infant of Prague Church in Cheektowaga, St. Agnes and St. Boniface parishes in Buffalo, Sacred Heart Parish in Bowmansville, Sacred Heart Parish in Niagara Falls and Immaculate Conception Parish in East Aurora.
In 1970, he was named pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in Canaseraga, then became pastor of St. Brendan’s Parish in Almond. While at St. Brendan’s, he also was chaplain at St. Jude Newman Center in Alfred.
He became pastor at St. Martin’s in 1977 and during his tenure there a new bell tower was built to house bells from the demolished St. Patrick’s Church. He was named a Prelate of Honor by Pope John Paul II in 1993.
Monsignor Neu served at St. Martin’s until 1995, when he was assigned to St. Patrick’s Church in Randolph.
He retired in 2004 after he fell in the snow while walking his dog and needed knee surgery.
A member of the Knights of Columbus, he was a Third Degree member of Monsignor Nash Council 3875 in South Buffalo and a Fourth Degree member of Monsignor Leo J. Toomey Assembly 2038 in Hamburg.
He also was a member of the board of directors of Our Lady of Victory Homes of Charity from 1977 to 1985 and the board of Our Lady of Victory Hospital from 1986 to 1994.
In recent years, he lived in a retirement community for priests in Lackawanna and was a volunteer dog walker at the Buffalo City Animal Shelter.
Survivors include several nieces and nephews.
Bishop Richard J. Malone will lead a concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 12, in Our Lady of Victory Basilica, Ridge Road and South Park Avenue,. Lackawanna.