With a song in his heart and music in his bones, Richard Leeper enjoyed sharing his talents with his community.
“One of the things he used to say to me,” Leeper’s wife, Kathy, said “was that ‘music is a feel thing.’ He (Richie) never took any lessons, he played by ear.”
A mentor at Infinity Visual and Performing Arts and active member of several area bands for over 48 years, Leeper played the saxophone, keyboard and was lead vocalist. He traveled all over Western New York, and into Pennsylvania, playing a variety of venues until his death in 2012.
One of the venues on Leeper’s roster each year was the Southern Tier Kidney Association Walk. Leeper, a long-time dialysis patient at WCA Hospital, understood the importance of the organization, and how money raised at the walk benefitted local patients undergoing kidney treatment.
At the 2013 walk, members of the Southern Tier Kidney Association paid special tribute to Leeper by establishing the Richie Leeper Memorial Fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, and donating a portion of the proceeds to the fund.
“(Leeper’s) positive attitude and ongoing support was an inspiration to other patients and the dialysis staff at WCA Hospital,” said Sam Pellerito, Southern Tier Kidney Association president.
The Southern Tier Kidney Association plans to donate a portion of the proceeds from the walks to the fund every year, but is also encouraging the public to donate as well.
The Southern Tier Kidney Association works closely with WCA Hospital to provide information and support to the kidney patients of the Southern Tier and the surrounding areas.
For more information on the Southern Tier Kidney Association, visit southerntierkidneyassoc.org.