John W. Leahy helped to save James A. Lawson from drowning, Medford, Massachusetts, January 28, 1968. James, 7, who could not swim, was walking on ice on the Mystic River when he broke through into water 10 feet deep, at a point 30 feet from the bank. He clung to a large piece of ice floating in the hole and called for help. Among those attracted to the river bank was Leahy, 28, realtor. He and others formed a chain and moved toward the hole but returned to the bank when the ice began breaking. Seeing James go under briefly twice, Leahy then ran toward him, taking a different path. He jumped into the hole and held James at the surface. As Leahy tried to obtain a hold on the ice, others formed another chain and moved toward the hole. Several broke through and returned to the bank. A life preserver with a rope was supplied to the remaining men. The preserver was thrown to Leahy, who meanwhile had been submerged briefly. He put his arm through the preserver and continued supporting James. The men began pulling on the rope. When he lost hold of James, who went under, Leahy quickly drew him back to the surface. The men pulled them out of the hole, and all returned safely to the bank.
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John W. Leahy, Jr., of Medford, Mass., son of John “Met” W. and Helen Munhal Leahy, died on Jan. 18, 2008.
Leahy was a noted businessman and real estate professional who was a lifelong member of the Medford Rotary Club. He also was a member of “The 100 Club,” an organization dedicated to police and fire; his father had been a founding member. He was a sponsor of the West Medford Little League for over 30 years, a member of the Hillside Men’s Social Club, and author of “The Real Estate Corner” column in the Medford Daily Mercury newspaper.
Leahy was the owner of the Springfield Street Saloon of Cambridge, which featured comedy performances. Under later ownership, the place was known as Ding Ho.
Leahy often recalled fond memories of playing on the Medford Rotary softball team and acting on stage at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester.
(Edited from an obituary provided by a family member.)