O’Rourke & O’Rourke
Inc. Funeral Home

25 River Street
Salamanca, NY 14779
phone: (716) 945-4760
fax: (716) 945-4222

James Leary

James S. Leary, 83, of Salamanca, NY died Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at Olean General Hospital after an extended illness.

Born December 23, 1933 in Emporium, PA, he was the son of the late Guy M. and Madalene S. Severin Leary. He was married on July 28, 1956 to the former Irene J. Bankovic, who survives.

He was a graduate of Emporium High School and the Mergenthalder School of Printing in New York City, and attended Vanderbilt University.

He served in active duty with the U.S. Army as a Bindery Specialist from 1953 to 1955, and in the U.S. Army Reserves until 1961. He played football for two seasons for the Army and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

James was the former Vice President of Straight Publishing Company, Little Valley, NY, and the former Director of Housekeeping at the Bradford Hospital. He was also the Director of Maintenance at the Rehabilitation Center in Olean, NY and the Department Manager of Environmental Services for the Seneca-Allegany Casino.

He was a member of Our Lady of Peace Parish and was a former member of the Mr. and Mrs. Club at St. Patrick’s Church, Loyal Order of the Moose, American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Well-known and active in his community, James was involved in many organizations over the years. He served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Salamanca Youth Activities, was a member of the Salamanca City Zoning Board, the Salamanca JayCees, and was a past Vice-President of the Cattaraugus County Agricultural Society. He also served as President of the Southwestern Chapter of Certified Football Officials.

In 1974 he was given the Salamanca JayCees Citizen of the Year Award. He was presented with the Outstanding Service Award by the Western New York Association of Youth Board. Instrumental in creating midget football for Salamanca youth, he was presented with the Class B Midget Football League Founders Award in 1991. His greatest honor was being inducted into the Cattaraugus County Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

He was known for his devotion to his family, his sense of humor, and his love of football.

James is survived by his wife of 61 years, Irene “Dolly” Leary, Salamanca, NY; three children, Julie (Scott) Badger, Fayetteville, NC, Kathleen (David) Benfey, Rome, NY, and James (Carrie) Leary, Villa Park, IL; six grandchildren, Jessica (Eric) Rotenberg, Samantha (William) Pennell, Eric Benfey, Kelly Benfey, Derik Leary, and Journey Leary; and two great-grandchildren, Elijah and Gabriel Rotenberg.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by five sisters.

Friends may be received at Our Lady of Peace Parish on Friday, September 22, 2017 from 2 – 3 p.m., at which time a memorial mass will be held with Rev. Peter Napierkowski, pastor, as celebrant.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to SYA or the donor’s choice.

Full military honors will be conducted by members of the American Legion Hughes-Skiba Post 535 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars John F. Ahrens Post 5296.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the O’Rourke & O’Rourke Inc Funeral Home, 25 River Street, Salamanca, NY.

E-condolences can be sent to john@orourke-orourke.com or posted to facebook.com/onofh.