Obituaries 11-04-2021

Dorothy Leef

Beacon Hill resident for over 60 years

Dorothy M. Leef of Boston, 97,  passed away on Saturday, October 23 at Youville House in Cambridge.

She was born on August 24, 1924 in Chicago, IL to the late Mary (Finn) and Charles Purcell. She attended Streator High School and the University of Illinois where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1946. She went on to earn a Masters degree in English at Ohio State where she met and married the late Charles N. Leef of Baltimore, MD in 1950. They were married for 48 years until his passing.

 A long-standing career woman, she was employed by the United States Office of Personnel Management for over 30 years where she specialized in personal classification. She started her career with the federal government because she found it was one of the only organizations that offered women equal pay for equal work.

A resident of Beacon Hill for over 60 years, she was a regular fixture in the neighborhood and could often be spotted at the local restaurants and shops. Her greatest passion was learning and she could discuss Proust to Pollock, Balzac to Beethoven, and never met a crossword she couldn’t finish. A voracious reader, she was a member of The Boston Athenaeum and spent many of her retirement years serving as a docent there. She loved Boston for its cultural richness and was a regular attendee of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Huntington Theater Company, the Boston Conservatory and the Boston Lyric Opera, among others. 

In addition to exploring the rich cultural life of Boston, her love of travel took her through much of Europe and Asia. A lifelong student, she took classes at Harvard’s Institute for Learning in Retirement, and Beacon Hill Village well into her 90’s. All who knew her remember her quick smile and ready laugh, earning her the nickname of the “laughing grandma” by her grandchildren. Her greatest pride in life was her children and grandchildren, and she was devoted to both.

She is survived by her son, Jamie (Amanda) Leef of Arlington, MA, daughter Ann (James) Lansing, of Palm Beach, FL; three grandsons, Nate Leef, and Edward and Peter Lansing; her former daughter-in-law, Suma Greenwald; sister-in-law, Mary Purcell and seven nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, Thomas Purcell, her husband, Charles and her son, Andrew.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Beacon Hill Village or Seasons Hospice of Massachusetts. A Memorial service will be held at a later date. 

 In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Beacon Hill Village or Seasons Hospice of Massachusetts. A Memorial service will be held at a later date.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.