March 21, 1949 – Dec. 7, 2012

Monsignor Patrick R. Leary, a Buffalo native who was executive director of Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, died unexpectedly Friday in Las Vegas. He was 63.

A graduate of St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute and Niagara University, he was ordained a Priest of the Congregation of St. Paul on May 15, 1976.

As a Paulist priest, he served in San Francisco in Old St. Mary’s Cathedral, worked in refugee camps in Hong Kong and, having learned Cantonese, returned to San Francisco to become director of St. Mary’s Chinese School.

In 1989, he was transferred to the Diocese of Reno-Las Vegas as chaplain of the Newman Center at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and chaplain for the Carmelite Sisters.

In 1994, he was incardinated into the diocese, formally becoming a diocesan priest, then served as vicar general for the Diocese of Las Vegas, rector of the Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer and diocesan administrator. He became a monsignor in 1998.

He became executive director of financially ailing Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada in 2003, reorganized it, streamlined its services and put it in the black.

“He was such a dynamic, articulate, warm individual,” said Patricia Trent Morrissey, president of the Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada board of trustees. She also noted “how good he was at getting the very best out of anyone who came in his orbit.”

He also served on numerous social services boards and was active as a volunteer for organizations helping the poor, distressed and homeless.

“He was the first to say, ‘I’ll be there,’ ” Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said. “I loved this man. He was one of a kind.”

Surviving are his father, William; a brother, Michael; and a sister, Lynne George.

A memorial Mass in Buffalo will be arranged.