Priscilla Leach passed away at home, surrounded by family, on March 21, 2023 at age 102. Born Priscilla Karle on Groundhog Day in 1921, Priscilla came into the world in Worcester, Massachusetts, the youngest of the three children of Sadie and Charlie Karle. She grew up in a house next to the WPI campus. Priscilla completed her education at both Colby-Sawyer College and Clark University and served as a hospital laboratory supervisor. She met her first husband, Don Reel on a Windjammer cruise in Maine in July of 1948. After marrying they lived in Lebanon, Pennsylvania where she gave birth to their two children, Donna and Ross. Priscilla continued to work as a laboratory supervisor at a hospital and in a doctor’s office in Lebanon while she raised her two children.
In 1987, Don,18 years her senior, passed away. The next year, Priscilla reconnected with her high school sweetheart, Jack Leach whose own wife had passed away and they married in 1989. They were happily married for 17 years, spending winters in Florida and summers on Lake Winnipesaukee until Jack’s sudden illness and death in 2006.
After Jack’s death, Priscilla returned to Massachusetts and lived in Hull, near Ross and his family where she enjoyed daily visits from daughter-in-law Anne and the family pugs Eugene, Ella and Kirby. She was delighted when granddaughter Charlie and Dane Grigas got married and bought a house in Hull, five minutes away. Her grandson Max visited her often and adorned her apartment with his works of art. Priscilla also enjoyed hosting Donna, her husband Gary and their chihuahuas whenever they visited from New Jersey. Gary was happy to serve as Priscilla's unofficial handyman during these visits.
Priscilla was a lifelong card player, playing bridge three times a week into her late nineties, outliving some of her younger bridge partners. She also played weekly pinochle games with her family past her 102nd birthday. We’re happy to report she won two of the last three games she played in March 2023.
Priscilla was well-traveled within the US and around the world, traveling to China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand in her 70s. She enjoyed vacations and holidays with family in California, Florida, New York and Massachusetts. In her nineties, much to her family’s surprise and delight, she rode Disney’s rollercoasters, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain without breaking a sweat.
She maintained many friendships throughout her life. Among the most notable was her friendship of more than 90 years with Priscilla Comins, a childhood next door neighbor she met when she was four years old. In recent years she enjoyed friendships with fellow bridge players and her wonderful neighbors. While raising her children her fondest family memories were of the time spent at the family cottage on Alum Pond, affectionately referred to as “Camp”. Reminiscing with her niece Karen in recent weeks, Priscilla referred to Camp as "a piece of heaven". Perhaps she is enjoying Camp now.
Priscilla graced the world with her sharp mind, determination, industriousness, self-reliance and humor for more than 102 years. She was a wonderful example to us all and she will be dearly missed. A small burial service will take place at Grand View Cemetery in Lebanon, PA where Priscilla will be buried next to her husband, Don Reel.
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