In Memory

Rick Leaman

Rick Leaman

Dear '66 Classmates,

Jeff Lucas got a call from the assisted living facility that Rick Leaman passed away this morning from COVID-19. Rick was diagnosed 10 days ago and had been on a ventilator. He passed away peacefully with his hospice caretaker by his side; the facility was in lock-down. Heart-felt thanks Jeff and Libby Lucas who got Rick the help he needed several years ago and have been his guardian angels ever since. You became Rick's family and gave him love, care and guidance for many years. 

Many of us sang in church and school choirs with Rick from age 3 through senior year. He was a great musician. Randy Hall, Lou Reeve, Mark Sutterley, and Rick formed the band, The Missing Links, and played at events around Haddonfield with Rick as lead guitar senior year. Randy commented, "We used to spend hours figuring out the right chords and George Harrison's lead guitar part to every song we played. And he and I would figure out the harmony parts just perfectly. This is truly the end of an era for me! I am weeping and smiling all at once. Thanks, Jeff, to you and Libby for watching over our friend for all these years. You are certainly to be blessed forever for your kindness."

Josh Gitomer added these thoughts about Jeff Lucas' care of Rick over the years. "Knowing you as closely and as well as I have in all our years together, I’m sure your thought was something along the line of: 'Well, this is obviously what needs to be done, and I'm happy to do it.' But to us on the outside, I will say: What a glorious, humane and loving service you & Libby so selflessly gave for years. I have no doubt that the two of you will ride to heaven on Rick's broad shoulders." 

Rick and his oldest daughter Kim

No details have been provided regarding a service or obituary, but I will send out additional information as it becomes available.

Vicki Meece Knowles

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05/12/20 05:46 PM #3    

Charles Pyle

I am very sorry to hear about Rick passing. Rick lived 3 doors down from me on Hickory Lane, off Warwick Road. We used to play a lot of sports together, basketball at my house and tosssing the baseball in the Bryants (then Kellings) backyard. In addition to being a great guitar player, Rick was a very talented artist. I am glad we got to see Rick at the 50th reunion. He was a really good guy.

05/13/20 10:52 AM #4    

Nelson Widell

I've been thinking alot about Rick these past couple days.

We were pretty close while I was at HMHS sharing a passion for folk music and spending untold hours in his 2nd floor room on Hickory Ave.I remember Rick, Randy Hall and me serenading my parents on their 25th wedding anniversary in 1964 and I have an anceint reel to reel tape arounf here somewhere that we made of us singing .

We went to see our heroes, The Kingston Trio a couple times and,once, at the Ice House on Brace Road actually talked our way into their dressing room and met them

Rick came to our wedding in 1970 and we saw him and his first wife intermittently when we both lived in Haddonfield in the 70s.

But then he movd; to Conn., north Jersey, remarried and moved to Florida. I tried and tried to reach him when he was in Florida to no avail.

But then he suddenly he reappeared 5 years ago, called me and was in need.I didn't really know how to help him but started calling people.

Thank God one of them was Jeff Lucas who knew how to help Rick with needed shelter and assistance.

Thank God he reconciled with his sister, Pam and hsi children.

I visited Rick at the assisted living facility he was in down in Elmer.

I took his guitar out, tuned it up and we sang all our old favorite songs.

That was the last time I saw him.

I regret I didn't go back to visit again.

I'll miss my old friend.

Thank you Jeff for what you did

And God bless Libby and you.



05/13/20 12:06 PM #5    

Vicki Meece (Knowles)

Rick was an accomplished painter as well as excellent musician. Here are some paintings which Jeff shared. 

The portrait is his daughter Kathy.

The canoe is on Lake George where his family spent their summers.


05/13/20 12:47 PM #6    

Vicki Meece (Knowles)

Here is the url for a recording of Rick and his oldest daughter Kim Leaman singing Mother Nature's Son. Hoping this works.  Also, Nelson sent this picture of Rick at Nelson's and Kathy's wedding in 1970. Many thanks, Nelson, for your early involvement helping Rick get support and also for visiting with him and singing. I know he loved it.

05/13/20 10:27 PM #7    

Vicki Meece (Knowles)

Rick's beautiful daughters: Kathy, Chelsea, and Kim Leaman. The girls are very appreciative of your comments about their dad and love the pictures. Thanks for sharing!


05/14/20 07:49 AM #8    

Nelson Widell

05/14/20 11:39 AM #9    

Vicki Meece (Knowles)

From Jeff Lucas: Rick loved seeing this home room picture. Especially showing him in his tennis sweater. (Unfortunately I can't get this to turn upright.)





05/14/20 12:22 PM #10    

Nelson Widell

05/15/20 12:36 PM #11    

Nelson Widell

Jeff Lucas,

Actually, I would characterize Rick's sweater as a "Brothers Four" sweater. He loved the  folk music of the Brothers Four and they wore these kind of sweaters and I know that was what who he was emulating.

06/25/20 09:50 AM #12    

Vicki Meece (Knowles)

Mark Sutterley sent this great memory to Jeff Lucas and gave me permission to add it to our website. - Vicki

Hi Jeff and Libby:         

If there’s time at Rick’s Memorial you might share the following on my behalf.

Rick was the first and only Guitar God I actually knew. I’m still awestruck at how quickly Rick could play back a song note for note, chord for chord after hearing it only a few times. This allowed our little HS band to have a broad playlist of any Rolling Stones, Beatles, Kinks, Yardbirds song that was popular at the time.

Fast forward 6 years later when I was in the MBA program at Ohio State. It was my first semester and I gave a presentation to my Economics class about how the “Lindenwold Line” was going to revolutionize Mass Transit. I also mentioned that I had taken the “train controlled by a computer” from my hometown of Haddonfield to Philadelphia. One of my classmates, a “Rob Seitz” said in a loud voice as I finished taking questions from classmates and the Professor “If you’re from Haddonfield I wonder if you know Rick Leaman?” my response “Sure, we were in a Rock Band in high school together”. Seitz then exclaims in a louder voice for all to hear “My God you must be so talented to be in a Rock Band with Rick Leaman!! We were Fraternity Brothers at Wittenberg and everyone knows he’s the best musician around”.  Thankfully the Professor (and I think everyone at Ohio State) heard the comment for I got an “A” in course which I attribute more to Rick and Seitz boosting my reputation than my academic skills. 

Looking back on those years, it was my honor and pleasure to be on stage with Rick at a time in my life when I didn’t have too much going for me. It was Rick who pressed me to overcome my stage fright and join The Missing Links and gulp, “sing in front of the whole high school” which went well. From there we played at Legion on Friday nights and a few other gigs. That experience helped give me the confidence to make presentations in my college classes at Ohio State, in front of groups in my business career and today, in front of 100 students in my Rutgers courses as a Full Time faculty member.  

Thanks Rick for pulling me into the band. My life could have been much, much different without your support and talent that helped put me on a positive path in life.  Rest in Peace and I’ll be joining you someday in that Rock Band in the sky.

With fond memories and deep appreciation,


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