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Leahys named Citizens of the Year

Jim and Terry Leahy have been named Citizens of the Year by the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce.

Jim and Terry Leahy

The longtime Arcadia residents who have donated years of their lives to support and make tremendous improvements in Arcadia schools and local organizations will be recognized during the Chamber’s annual Installation Dinner sponsored by Singpoli on March 26 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 924 W. Huntington Drive in Monrovia.

Tickets ($65 for members; $75 for non-members), sponsored tables and ads may be purchased here in the “Shop” area of the Chamber web site:

Also being recognized at the dinner will be Corporate Community Contributor honoree Foothill Credit Union as well as outgoing Chamber President Denise Weaver of Weaver & Associates Insurance and termed-out board members Sylvia Ramos of Dilbeck/Christie’s International Estates, Joan Francone of ORI Global, and former President Bob Hoffman of Snowden Capital Advisors.

A year after “retiring” in 2006 Jim Leahy offered to help part-time with massive construction work needed for the Arcadia Unified School District’s $275 million bond project to upgrade every school in the city. But he soon found himself knee deep in remodeling and building new facilities at each campus on a full-time basis. At Arcadia High School alone he orchestrated a complete overall of the football stadium, built a new performing arts center, and was a founding member of the Performing Arts Foundation Board of Directors. He re-tooled and added new classrooms, lecture halls, cafeterias and more. The Arcadia Education Center replaced Bonita Park Elementary School as the old district office was torn down to allow additional parking for the performing arts center. Along with his team of dedicated staff, Jim has spent the last seven years overseeing every ounce of district construction.

Terry Leahy, who works part time in the Human Resources department for Arcadia Unified School District, received the Golden Apple Award from the school district in 2013. Her favorite volunteer job was grad night at Arcadia High which she chaired three times. She was given an honorary service award at three schools and received the Golden Oak award at the council level. She assisted in both school bond campaigns for district improvements. She served as a board member for the Arcadia Educational Foundation and during the years her girls played sports she was team mom more times than she can count.

Terry was very involved in the Arcadia schools her daughters attended, serving as PTA president at Hugo Reid Elementary School and Foothills Middle School. At Arcadia High, she was a board member for the Athletic Boosters, started a line of spirit wear clothing to boost morale, and helped develop the first Fall Preview Day to make the community aware of all the high school had to offer. She was also a Girl Scouts leader.

Terry has been a member of the Arcadia Assistance League since 1997, holding a variety of board positions, often focusing on the teenage auxiliary called the Assisteens. She is a former member of the Arcadia Junior Women’s Club and she has also written published essays in both volumes of the Visions of Arcadia books.

Terry has lived in Arcadia most of her life, attending public schools and graduating from Arcadia High School. She went on to get her Bachelor’s degree in History from Cal State LA. She began working for a marketing research company following graduation. After retiring from full-time work following the birth of their second daughter, she carved out a little niche consulting business. She does the data processing for a variety of market research firms.

Terry and Jim, who have been married for 37 years and have lived together in Arcadia most of that time. Their three daughters, Lauren, Megan and Cailtyn, attended Arcadia schools, with Megan and Lauren ensuring the family name will continue to have a presence at Arcadia school campuses. Lauren is principal of Hugo Reid Elementary School while Megan is a history teacher and coach of the constitution team at Arcadia High School. Caitlyn is a food scientist in Orange County.

Jim coached each daughter’s softball team beginning in T-ball through high school. For 17 years Jim coached, served on the board and was Arcadia Coast Little League president. He helped build the indoor batting cage that stands at Windsor Field today. Jim was an active parent at Hugo Reid Elementary, Foothills Middle School and Arcadia High School. This year Jim will coach an Arcadia American Little League baseball team.

Jim grew up in Pasadena, graduating from Pasadena High School. He attended PCC then graduated from the college of Mortuary Science at USC Medical Center, becoming a licensed mortician and beginning work at Glasser Miller Lamb here in Arcadia.

His father was the produce buyer and initial employee at Jurgensen’s Grocery Company. After falling ill and needing help, Jim went to work there and ultimately became Vice President of facilities and operations.

In 1984 Jim was lured away by movie producer Dino DeLaurentiis for his combined knowledge of fine foods and construction. Jim built the first DDL Foodshow in Beverly Hills and then New York City. This concept of a combined restaurant and gourmet grocery store was ahead of its time and Jim became general manager once construction was complete. He then worked with Dino building movie studios in Australia and North Carolina, along with his home on a hill top in Beverly Hills.

As their daughters became school age, a desire for more normal hours and less travel propelled him to start his own construction firm. He built luxury homes for many entertainment clients and also remodeled houses here in Arcadia.

Always remembering his roots, Jim was a member of the first graduating class of the Pasadena Police Department Citizens Police Academy.

He enjoys his leisure time playing tennis, selling real estate, going to the beach and trading cars.

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