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Leland C. Smith, 96, of Chestnut Ridge NY, formerly of Pearl River and Cooperstown NY, passed away peacefully in his sleep at Promenade Assisted Living on Wednesday January 30, 2019.
Leland was born on February 5, 1922 in Cooperstown, NY to Ethel and Charles Smith. He died less than a week before his 97th birthday. He married Genevieve Gandle on September 15, 1945, soon after returning from his service as a US Marine. He was a member of the ‘Greatest Generation’, serving in the Pacific theater during World War II. Leland and Genevieve enjoyed a 69 year marriage together, mostly in his native Cooperstown before moving to Pearl River in 2009 and to assisted living in 2014. Genevieve pre-deceased Leland in 2015. He was also pre-deceased by sister, Marjorie Simmons and brother, Raymond Smith. As a youth and well into adulthood Leland was an active and accomplished sportsman, excelling in golf, bowling and in billiards. He loved playing cards and was still winning family ‘crazy rummy’ tournaments up to his final week of life. He worked at the family creamery for several years after leaving the Marine Corps and spent the majority of his working life in accounting and finance at Mary Imogene Bassett Memorial Hospital in Cooperstown, NY.
Leland was a quiet man, but had a wicked sense of humor. He had a smile for everyone, never had a harsh word or complaint about people or life. He reminded many of the theme of a Will Rogers classic, “I Never Met a Man I Didn’t Like”, and pointed out the best in everyone. He had a steady joy, which all who knew him could acknowledge. In Cooperstown, he was an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Cooperstown Golf and Bowling Leagues, the Mohican Club and Christ Episcopal Church. In Pearl River, Leland volunteered with daughter Jeanne to deliver Meals on Wheels while able, and attended Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, particularly the Men’s Breakfast Group at the church, where he earned a reputation as a steady attendee and reliably enjoyed the companionship, projects and of course the great food at these monthly gatherings.
Leland is survived by his two daughters, Judy Motz and Jeanne Struck, son-in-law, Richard Struck, grandchildren, Julie Montesano and husband, Rocco, and Jonathan Moore and wife, Dhania, great-grandchildren, Gerard Montesano and wife, Jillian, Dante Montesano, Daniella Montesano and Zacary Moore. He is also survived by niece, Nancy White and husband, Richard, brother-in-law, Robert Simmons, sister-in-law, Winifred Smith, and Judy Motz’s companion Bill Burke.
A Memorial Service will be held at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at 112 North Main Street in Pearl River, NY at 11:00 AM Saturday February 23rd. Donations in memory of Leland Smith can be sent to Meals on Wheels of Rockland County, 121 West Nyack Road, Nanuet, NY 10954. Arrangements made through Wyman-Fisher Funeral Home in Pearl River. Interment with military honors will be held in Cooperstown, NY at a later date.