John “Jack” Francis Xavier Leydon Sr., 87, passed away at Stamford Hospital on Saturday March 25, 2023.
Jack was the youngest of five children born to Mary Ellen and Joseph Leydon. He was born in a home on Shippan Avenue Extension in the shadow of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church on January 9, 1936, grew up in the Cove section of Stamford and served as an altar boy at St. Mary’s.
Jack graduated from Cove School in 1947 which was then led by Principal K.T. Murphy after whom the school is now named; St. John’s Junior High School in 1950; Stamford High School in 1954; and, American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1958 receiving a bachelor’s degree in economics. He received a masters degree and a 6th year certificate from Fairfield University in 1963 and 1965, respectively.
Jack was employed as an educator in Stamford for 37 years. Beginning in 1959 he taught at Stamford Catholic High School; in 1961 he transferred to Rippowam High School where he was a teacher, guidance counselor, Assistant Principal and Vice Principal; and, after the closing of Rippowam in 1983, he began his duties as Vice Principal of Westhill High School which he held until his retirement in 1996.
Jack was a leading member of Stamford High School’s football team during its glory era. He played both ways as a lineman, was a starter as a junior and senior and in his senior year he served as a co-captain. The team was C.I.A.C. state champion each of his junior and senior years. His coach in high school was the legendary Paul Kuczo. After high school, Jack was awarded a four-year athletic scholarship for his football abilities and started for four years on American International College’s team. After college, Jack started for Stamford’s Golden Bear semi-professional team. At Catholic High School Jack was a line coach under Bob Lynch. During this time, he coached Dick Swatland, who went on to become a captain of Notre Dame’s team. At Rippowam, Jack served as a line coach under Allen Shanen. The team was the undefeated county and state champion in 1965. During this time, Bobby Valentine was a leading player on the team.
Jack married the former Barbara Kozicki on June 18, 1960 at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in Stamford. The couple had three children: John Jr. and his wife Stacey and their children Mary, John III, James and Anne all of Stamford and Brenden and his wife Angela and their son Brenden of Stamford. He was predeceased by their son Terence and is survived by Terence’s daughters Kathy and Michelle and Michelle’s son Joey. He is also survived by his sister Rita of Stamford. He was predeceased by his siblings Joseph Leydon, Marion Troy and Loretta Leydon.
Jack was also an active community member. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Ancient Order of Hibernians and Glenbrook Athletic Club. He was a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals from 1968 to 1978 and served as its chairman for half of those years. Jack was active in Stamford Democratic politics and was also elected to multiple terms as a Constable – – often receiving the highest vote total for that position.
Jack spent his last days at St. Camillus Health Center adjacent to St. Mary’s Church thus closing a circle and last chapter of a life devoted to God, family and hometown.
Burial was private. The family asks that you remember Jack fondly and say a prayer on his behalf.
The Nicholas F. Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory, 104 Myrtle Avenue, Stamford, CT is honored to assist the Leydon Family with the arrangements.
To leave online condolences, please visit www.cognetta.com.