Josef D. Leary

Josef D. Leary

Josef Daniel Leary, beloved brother, son, and friend, was born in Lynn to Mary T. Leary and James Dennis Leary. Josef passed away on Monday evening.

Josef was raised in downtown Peabody with his many siblings. He graduated from Peabody High School and was a proud graduate of Salem State College and Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Josef was an attorney and member of the D.C. Bar. He proudly served the United States of America as a Bureau of Diplomatic Security Special Agent for the Department of State for nearly two decades. He was bilingual (English and Spanish) with a working knowledge of several other languages. During his career his service took him all over the world including in El Salvador for two years. He traveled extensively throughout Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

His foreign service travels took him to places such as Saudi Arabia, Mongolia, Indonesia, Portugal, and Russia among many other destinations. He served under at least five different Secretaries of State for the U.S. Department of State.

Josef was honored by his high school by being inducted into its hall of fame. He also received many commendations and awards during his time at the State Department for his dedicated service. One highlight of his career was his involvement in the successful coordination of security for Nelson Mandela’s visit to Boston while Josef was stationed in Boston. When not traveling abroad Josef was also posted in Washington, D.C.

His mother, Mary T. Leary; his siblings, James, Joanne, John, Jane and Janet, and many beloved nieces and nephews survive him. His father, James Dennis Leary, predeceased him.

Josef was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in the prime of his life and served as an example of courage in the face of the chronic/progressive debilitating disease. Most recently Josef was a resident at the Leonard Florence Center for the Living, the nation’s first urban mode Green House Nursing Home on Admiral’s Hill in Chelsea. Josef spent the end of his life’s journey courageously facing the challenges of living with MS as a pioneer resident along with other individuals living with a life-altering neurological disease such as MS and ALS. Many thanks are extended to his dedicated caregivers. In lieu of flowers, spend time with your loved ones and celebrate your life together.  

Service information: Following cremation, visiting hours will be held on Thursday from 4 until 7:45 p.m., followed by a family service at 7:45 at the CONWAY, CAHILL-BRODEUR Funeral Home, 82 Lynn St., Peabody, to which relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend. A family burial will be held on Friday at 9:30 a.m. at Cedar Grove Cemetery, Peabody. For directions and online obituary, visit


More Obituaries