Obituary: Jack William Leeney
– February 25, 2022
Avid golfer, skier, boater, aviator, builder, traveler, gin and poker player, Jack lived life to the fullest until his passing on February 25, 2022. He was born in Pekin, Illinois on September 1, 1940 to Col. Lewis W. Leeney and Dorothy Simonson Leeney. Being the oldest of 4 siblings, Jack lived several places and attended many schools in his early life. He graduated from Drexel University and Harvard Business School in 1968.
Fresh out of college he worked for TWA as Director of flight crew planning at their headquarters in NYC, and later General Host Corp where he was involved in mergers and acquisitions and served as president of General Host’s Van de Camp Bakery Division. He later bought Van De Kamp Bakery, the largest retail bakery in California, also serving Nevada and Arizona and was CEO until he sold it in 1985. He was involved in the development and build out of cell phone towers in remote areas in central Colorado, later operating under the name Cellular One.
Jack received several commendations and Mayors Certificates of Appreciation from the Mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley, for his 8 years of service on the Department of Water and Power, serving as Board President, Vice President, overseeing several major power projects during his tenure.
Jack split his retirement between two homes, Aspen, Colorado and the Coachella Valley in southern CA. He was an active member in both communities, belonging over the years to Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake, Jonathan Club in LA, the Citrus Club at La Quinta, Plantation Golf Club and La Quinta Country Club.
His beloved wife, Joan Wood Leeney died from cancer in 1997. He is survived by his long-time partner, Janine Sevigny, son Craig Leeney, daughter Kristin Leeney, grandchildren Connor and Savannah, brother Joseph Leeney and sisters Martha McDonald and Janet Adrian and several nephews and nieces.
Those who knew him well describe him as selfless, loyal, hardworking, generous and humble.
A Celebration of Jack’s life will be held at the Vue, Indian Wells, California on March 23rd from 4-7 o’clock.
In lieu of flowers, Jack had requested taking a moment to connect with family members, a nice dinner, a movie, a long stroll or taking a ride on a golf cart with your child or grandchild.