William E. Leo, 90
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SCARBOROUGH -- William E. Leo, 90, of Portland, passed away with his family by his side on Aug. 12, 2014.
The son of Antonio and Amelia (Amabile) Leo, he was born on June 16, 1924, in Portland. The days of Willie's youth were rough and tumble times in Portland and Willie, like a lot of other men of his era, credits the Boy's Club on Cumberland Avenue, now the Boys and Girls Club, with keeping them off the streets and filling their lives with worthwhile activities.
One of the activities that Willie became involved with was boxing. He excelled at this sport fighting over 50 fights in his boxing career and winning the Golden Gloves Lightweight Championship of Maine. He attended Portland School and graduated from Portland High School. After graduation he joined his five older brothers in the military, Willie joining the Air Force.
According to Willie 'the most important single event of his life was his marriage, at age 18, to his beloved wife Martha 'Hilda' Brown. They were married for 65 years and raised 10 children, first on Oxford Street, but eventually moving their family onto Munjoy Hill.
As a young boy he worked with his father as a mason, learning the trade. As a man he was an iron worker, working all over the United States eventually landing the job as general foreman of Consolidated Construction. While in this position he worked on Casco Bank, Portland Public Library, Maine Savings Bank, and many bridges throughout the state. While doing iron work he also had a masonry business on the side with his sons. After retiring he went full-time with the masonry business. During the 1970s Willie and Sons was a major influence in the masonry restoration of the Old Port.
Willie was known throughout Portland for his Italian singing, which he sang throughout the city especially on Munjoy Hill, Hannaford, and Tony's Donuts.
He was predeceased by his wife Martha; his son William J. Leo, and his daughter Carol Jean Ham. He was the last of his 15 siblings. He is survived by his children, Patricia Ham and her husband Gregory of Portland, Thomas Leo and his wife Maria of Portland, Kathleen Leo and her partner Janet Hawks of Portland, Maureen Sidelinger and her husband Gary of Cumberland, Daniel Leo and his wife Lucretia of Portland, James Leo of Portland, Cynthia Darling and her husband Russell of Falmouth, and Timothy Leo of Portland; 24 grandchildren, Brigid, Jodi, Sarah, Dominic, Michael, Susan, Jeffery, Eric, Julie, Emily, Martha, William, Benjamin, Andrew, Daniel, Leslie, Danielle, Bradley, Elizabeth, Melissa, Jamie, Vanessa, Victoria, and Ryan; and many great and great-great- grandchildren.
Family and friends are invited to attend a time of visitation on Friday, Aug. 15, from 4-8 p.m., at Jones, Rich & Hutchins Funeral Home, 199 Woodford St., Portland. Prayers will be recited at the funeral home on Saturday, Aug. 16, at 9:15 a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 307 Congress St., Portland. Interment will follow at Calvary Cemetery in South Portland. Please visit www.jonesrichandhutchins.com for additional information and to sign Willie's online guestbook.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made in William's memory to:
The Boys and Girls Club
P.O. Box 1438
Portland, Maine 04112
William E. Leo
Jones, Rich & Hutchins
Funeral Home & Cremation Service
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Aug. 14, 2014
Arrangements under the direction of:
Jones, Rich & Barnes Funeral Home
199 Woodford Street | Portland, ME 04103 | (207) 775-3763