Leo A. Healy – Fairwell to an Ice legend
It is with a heavy heart that I must let everyone know that Leo A. Healy one of our founding members passed away last week. Leo led a rich and full 98 years on and off the ice. Here is a link to his obituary https://dockrayandthomasfuneralhome.com/Obituaries.html
He was one of the founding members of the New England Ice Yacht Association and had remained active to the end. He was a driving force behind racing for many years and a regular participant both in New England and where ever the ice took him. A brief club history by Bob Kilpatrick https://theneiya.org/neiya-a-brief-history/
One of the lasting memories for many of us was his voice on the ice hotline announcing the weekend’s activities. Way back when all we had was the phone to keep us in touch and Leo did it well. His signature sign offline and one that is continuously used to this day. “Remember, there is thin ice someplace”. We all know how true this can be!
On a personal note, Leo and I would spoke regularly both leading up to and during the season over the past number of years. He would preach about unity within the NEIYA and the need to be inclusive regarding new sailors and those wanting to enjoy iceboating away from the start finish line. The last time I talked to Leo was prior to our annual meeting last fall. I knew he would not be able to make it so gave him a call to let him know of our plans. I could clearly hear that he was thrilled that I called and told me that he was wearing a regatta coat that day. He was happy to here that we were continuing under difficult circumstances and told me “John, you seem to have everything under control” Of course, I did not know this would be the last time we would speak but looking back I think he believed that the organization on a good path. The NEIYA was his baby and he cared deeply about it currently and into the future.
At the 2017 NEIYA annual meeting Leo was honored for his years of service and awarded a perpetual membership in the club. That membership is still current and will renew everytime we think about him and especially when we next do the “Hard Way”.
A proposal will be put forward to rename the “Hard Way” in honor of Leo. “Leo’s Hard Way” etc. Submit your ideas.
I have talked and communicated with many of you and need your help in putting together a proper memorial/tribute page for Leo. Need pictures, stories, and thoughts. Please help us preserve memories.
Leo sail fast on boundless ice,
Remembering Leo Healy
I met Leo Healy at the first NEIYA meeting I attended in 1992. A distinguished man in a coat and tie addressing the group, he would stand and speak strongly and clearly. During dinner, he took the time to talk with me about the ice boat I just built.
Later, as I took part in NEIYA events, I was impressed by the many stories of the trips that he made to Europe, Russia and other sailing adventures. These stories made me want to do these things myself one day.
When I think of Leo, I always remember his emphasis on awareness and safety on the ice. “Remember, there is always thin ice somewhere.” The best tribute we can give to Leo and to other members who have passed is to keep the NEIYA going strong…and to sail safe, fast, and as often as we can!
Thank you Leo. We will keep you with us in our hearts and think of you often. Sail on friend.
Eben Whitcomb, DN 4775
02/05/2021 at 8:58 pm
I first met Leo Healy a few years back at Ponkapoag Pond, where he used to run his DN 1925. Trisha, the camp caretaker, told me stories of donut and hot chocolate ice skating socials- back when folks had time and the ice froze over regularly.
Last year when he sold me DN 1925 I got to know Leo a little better, and was awed by his accomplishments and craftsmanship throughout his house.
I had promised to take Leo to Ponkapoag to watch the DN run last year but it never froze solid, then covid came.
When I called last month I told him I’d send a photo next time she sails.
02/04/2021 at 8:33 pm