Dr. Joseph Leahy

University of Alabama in Huntsville biology professor Dr. Joseph Leahy, who died Oct. 15, is being remembered for his tenacity in completing his recovery in order to return to the classroom.

"Joe Leahy became a symbol of perseverance and survival in our department," said Dr. Debra Moriarity, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. "I think that his return to teaching and to his research made us all feel that the department was moving on and rebuilding and the future was good."

Services will take place at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 1055 Hughes Road in Madison. Wake and memorial service is today (Tuesday, Oct. 17) at 6 p.m. Funeral mass service will be Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 11 a.m.

"Joe was enthusiastic about his teaching, and concerned when students didn't do well," Dr. Moriarity said. "He wanted to not only help them learn microbiology, but also to encourage and motivate them to do their very best in whatever they did."

His determination never flagged.

"Joe was determined to make as full a recovery as possible and to continually push himself to be a better person, physically, emotionally and spiritually," Dr. Moriarity said. "It always lifted my spirits to see him in the halls or to have him stop in to my office to tell me about his sons' latest achievements. He was so proud of them."

Biology faculty drew strength from Dr. Leahy in the wake of being shot by former biology professor Dr. Amy Bishop in 2010.

"His loss leaves us all saddened and momentarily disheartened, but we will continue to honor his memory by striving to be the best we can be, because that's what Joe would want."


Ray Garner