David Price “Bud” Leys, 88, of Middletown, RI, passed away peacefully on Tuesday April 2, 2019 at Newport Hospital after an extended illness. He is survived by Judy, his wife of 67 years.
“Bud” was born in Newport RI on July 14, 1930, the middle child of William and Aline Leys. He attended Newport Public Schools and spent summers at Hazard’s Beach, graduating from Rogers HS in 1947 where he played on the basketball and tennis teams and was a member of the infamous Hilton Athletic Club. Bud continued his education at Brown University. Upon graduation in 1951, he returned to Newport and began a 50 plus year career as President and owner of Leys Century Store, the family business his father began in 1912, which he ran until his “retirement” in 1999. He spent many of his later years watching his grandchildren in a variety of sports and activities and staying busy by contributing to a wide array of civic and charitable organizations.
Bud and his high school sweetheart, Judy Cowey, were married on June 7, 1952 at St. Mary’s Church in Newport. The family lived on Barbara St. in Newport for many years before moving to Easton’s Point in Middletown in 1968.
David will be remembered for his support and love for downtown Newport and his service to the entire community. He had a long association with BankNewport, serving as President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees. He was a lifelong parishioner and Trustee for St. Mary’s Church, as well as serving on the Board of Trustees and as interim CEO of The Preservation Society of Newport County. Over the years, he served as President of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce, volunteered on the Middletown Beach Commission, ran the Newport Downtown Merchants Decoration Committee and was the longest serving volunteer fireman (callman) on the Newport Fire Department, serving with distinction for over 50 years. He recently helped re-establish the Newport Fireman’s Relief Association. David was often recognized for his service to the community. Most notably he was a recipient of the Newport Daily News Community Service Award as well as receiving the statewide Jefferson Award for volunteer service from WJAR Channel 10 in 2017. He was a longtime member of the Newport Yacht Club, sailing on the “Buwi”, the boat he shared with his brother Moon. He enjoyed many years of tennis with his Friday night tennis group. He was a weather buff and unofficial weather reporter for anyone interested in knowing the forecast, as well as a self appointed food critic of every restaurant or eating venue he solicited.
David’s life is archived in the daily diaries that he kept since he was 10 years old. Most notable are his daily weather recordings which started each day’s entry, often taking precedence over other events like the birth of his children, which might be written about at the end of the day’s events. Bud was an avid conversationalist, taking a sincere interest in just about anybody or anything. He thoroughly enjoyed talking to people from all walks of life, whether it be the CEO of a bank or a gardener at the Preservation Society mansions.
Bud will be missed greatly by so many but remembered dearly by those whose lives he touched over the years, most especially his large family, employees from Leys Century Store, his many friendships he acquired through the years, and just about anybody with whom he came in contact.
David is predeceased by his son David Jr., and his sister Jean. In addition to his wife, he is survived by their six children and spouses: Ellen Leys and Dave Raboy of Newport, Kevin and Midge Leys of Allenhurst, NJ, Paul Leys and Mardie Corcoran of Newport, Beth Leys of Shenzhen China, Andrew and Susan Leys of Middletown and John Leys of Middletown. He is also survived by his brother Bill Leys of Newport and 15 grandchildren.
Calling hours will be held at O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring St., Newport on Thursday, April 4 from 4:00 – 7:00 pm. A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Friday, April 5 at 10:00 am at St. Mary’s Church in Newport. Burial will be private. Donations, in lieu of flowers, can be made to the Newport Fireman’s Relief Fund, 21 West Marlborough St. Newport, RI 02840 and/or CCALS (in memory of David Leys Jr.) Compassionate Care ALS, PO Box 1052, West Falmouth, MA 02574.