WESTFIELD – Leon (Lee) Kaczmn passed away on April 26, after a hard fought battle with congestive heart failure. He was 87. Lee was a lifelong resident of Westfield. He was born on April 4, 1933, to Joseph and Mildred Kaczman. He was a graduate of Westfield High School, Class of 1951. Lee excelled in both academics and athletics. He graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Education from Westfield State Teacher’s College, where he was a guard on the varsity basketball team. Lee further demonstrated his commitment to lifelong learning by taking evening classes at Westfield State College to earn a Master’s degree. He served in the US Army, stationed at Fort Hood and Germany, followed by years in the Reserves.
Lee devoted much of his life to education, spending 39 years in the West Springfield public school system. Over the course of the years, he taught math, science, and gifted education, at schools throughout the district, including Tatham Elementary School, Memorial Elementary School, Cowing Elementary School, and West Springfield Junior High School, where he served as math department chair. Lee was a dedicated educator; students would see him years after he had been their teacher and would inevitably share that he was the best teacher they had ever had.
Lee was outgoing, with a great sense of humor. He valued time spent with family and friends, whether it was a game of pool or table tennis, shooting hoops in the driveway, playing board games, or visiting Stanley Park. He was an accomplished Scrabble and chess player. Lee tended the Southwick Country Club golf course greens as a teenager, which fostered his passions for golf and landscaping his own backyard. He was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed fishing, particularly at his favorite spot, Goose Pond in Lee, MA. Most importantly, Lee will be remembered as a loving father and grandfather; caring, encouraging, supportive, and generous. He also had a soft spot for animals and tenderly cared for a menagerie of pets and the neighborhood wildlife.
Lee is survived by his devoted wife of 61 years, Joan Basile Kaczman; daughter Karen and husband, Kurt McKissick, of Chapel Hill, NC; son James and wife, Libby Evans, of Stonington, CT; son Daniel and wife, Susan, of Oak Ridge, NC; and daughter Lynn, of Westfield; grandchildren Kaitlin Daniel and husband, Hao Xu; Nicholas Daniel and wife, Ulada Haranina; Henry, and John; and a brother, Robert, of Westfield.
A memorial service will be held at future date.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Stanley Park of Westfield, Inc. Memorial donations may be mailed to The Stanley Park of Westfield, Office of Development, 400 Western Ave., Westfield, MA 01085. Online donations may be submitted by visiting www.stanleypark.org/support.html
The family extends warm thanks and gratitude to the staff of Westfield Gardens Nursing Home for their comforting care.
Avalon Funeral and Cremation Services, 691 College Hwy., Southwick, MA 01077 is assisting the family with arrangements. To express condolences to the family or to share a memory please visit Lee’s memorial page at www.avaloncelebrations.com