Leo A. Healy
Leo Arthur Barrieau Healy, age 98, a long-time resident of Canton, Massachusetts, passed away peacefully at the home of his son Robie in Plainfield, NH on January 27th, 2021. His son was at his side. He was born in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada the oldest of seven children. His family moved to and settled in Readville, a neighborhood of Boston where he and his siblings were raised by an extended family. He maintained a proud affiliation with this neighborhood his entire life, often sharing stories of exploring the surrounding countryside with his brother, Raymond, and friends. He enlisted in the US army prior to World War II. Having demonstrated extreme proficiency in skiing, mountain climbing and engineering, he was quickly recruited by the newly formed 10th Mountain Division of the 86th Infantry. This was the US’s first “mountain” unit trained for fighting in harsh terrain. During this development period, Leo became an instructor to the troops in rock climbing techniques at the brand new Camp Hale in Colorado. While at Camp Hale, he also designed and developed new roping techniques, skis, gear and other equipment used by the mountain troops in WWII and later by civilian mountaineers. Leo was deployed to Italy where the 10th Mountain Division engaged the German troops in the high Alps at Riva Ridge. During battle, he suffered a serious leg wound, was hospitalized, awarded the Purple Heart and after recovering from his injury, rejoined the troops in his division which helped liberate Italy. After the Armistice, he stayed in Europe climbing the French Alps with his war buddies, including an ascent on Mount Blanc and scaling new routes up the Matterhorn. His climbing pals were Dick Emerson who was a member of America’s first team expedition to Mount Everest in 1963 and David Brower who became the executive director of the Sierra Club. Upon his return to the United States, Leo took his bride, Ruth, to Colorado Springs for another year of skiing in the Rocky Mountains. This time, he taught the army brass the fundamentals of snow skiing which at the time was fastly developing into the major recreational sport it is today. Despite many of his army friends staying in Colorado, Leo and his wife returned to the Boston area to begin a family. His first job was managing a small (now long gone) ski area in Warner, New Hampshire. In 1949 he became the first manager of the Blue Hills Ski Area and worked with the Metropolitan District Commission and a crew clearing a network of new ski trails. After leaving his duties as the Blue Hills Ski Area manager, he drew upon his sharp machining and engineering skills and founded Model Engineering Corporation in Canton near the base of the ski area. There he developed extremely high tolerance prototypes for the burgeoning computer and space age industries including first guidance systems for the early US space program. The company quickly expanded and relocated to its current location in Holbrook, MA where it is still in operation today. Since 2004 he had stayed on as a consultant, working 3-4 days a week until 2018. Leo’s spare time activities always reflected his fondness of the outdoors and instilled this love in his family. He always enjoyed the challenges from the environment in his recreational pursuits. His pleasures included: skiing (his first love), skating, iceboating, sailing, fishing, hunting, hiking and bird watching. He went to the Soviet Union during the cold war to take part in an international ice boating regatta that raced off the coast of Finland and was a crew member on a boat in the Newport to Bermuda sailboat race. His family fondly remembers numerous ski vacations to nearly every ski area in the North East and many memorable sailing vacations on Windbell II in the summer waters off New England. More recently he got pleasure from his hikes around Ponkapoag Pond in Canton, MA where he continually met and made new friends. He spent countless hours in his basement workshop designing and building bird houses and bird feeders for charity and many other items with which he crafted with talent and pride.
Leo was predeceased by his wife Ruth A. (O’Toole) Healy, a son John Edmond Healy, and a grandson Adam Leo Healy, a brother Raymond and sisters Josephine, Jeanette and Beatrice. He is survived by his daughter Lyn Marie of Canton, MA, Paul Michael and wife Patricia of Canaan, NH and Robert Leo of Plainfield, NH. He is the grandfather of Micheil Boesel of Canton, MA, Liam Watts and wife Carol Ann of Hudson, NH and Matthew Healy and wife Amber of Southern Pines, NC and great grandfather of Kyleigh and Ryder Healy also of Southern Pines, NC. Additionally, Leo is survived by two sisters, Marie and Evelyn and numerous nephews and nieces. He will be greatly missed by his business and recreational friends.
“Sail on dad,sail on and sail faster.”
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a graveside service on Wednesday, February 10th at 12:00 noon at Canton Corner Cemetery.