On Friday, January 17th, Roger Leland passed away peacefully at the age of 90, at home while surrounded by the love of his family.
Roger was born in Waltham, a son to the late Rodney M. and Mabel (Conant) Leland. He was raised in Northborough and graduated Wilbraham Academy, Class of 1947. Roger attended the University of Kentucky where in 1954 he earned his BA and LL.B degrees (now J.D.) concurrently and was awarded membership to the elite Pershing Rifles fraternal organization. He was admitted to the Kentucky Bar Association in 1954, the same year he enlisted into the U.S. Army where he served as a 1st Lt. in the Army Judge Advocate General Corp (JAGS). After his honorable discharge, Roger continued his service to his country as a captain in the US Army Reserves.
In 1957, Roger started his law practice in Northborough which continues today. Roger’s expertise as an attorney afforded him admittance to practice in the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court, Kentucky Supreme Court, United States Court of Military Appeals, United States Tax Court and Supreme Court of the United States. He was a member of the American, Massachusetts, Kentucky & Worcester Bar Assns. and a lifetime member of the Kentucky Law Journal. He was instrumental in the development of a Moot Court program and funded an endowment at the University of Kentucky to assist law students. In addition to his lifelong career of practicing law, Roger continued to operate Leland Insurance, a company his father started in 1921, and maintained his real estate broker and construction supervisor licensure.
Roger earned his Masters of Law (LL. M.) in Banking from Boston University and served as Chairman of the Board of the former Westborough Bank as well as its Executive Committee, as Chairman of its Long Range Planning Committee and as a member of its Board of Directors. He later was appointed as Trustee Emeritus at Avidia Bank.
The Town of Northborough will remember Roger for the countless hours of volunteering and professional knowledge provided as he worked to better the community which he was proud to call home. For over 30 years, at various periods, Roger served on the Long Range Financial Planning Committee, and as Chair of the Appropriations Committee, Wage and Salary Classification Commission, Assistant Town Counsel and the Industrial Development Committee. In 2018, Northborough honored Roger’s longtime service to the town by bestowing to him the honor of Grand Marshal of the Applefest Parade.
He was a sportsman who loved many individual sports but golf was his lifelong passion. A member of Mid Ocean in Bermuda and of the Worcester Country Club for over 50 years, they awarded him Lifetime status. A loving family man, Roger took particular pride in his home on Bustins Island in Casco Bay, Maine. It was a special place for Roger to read, putter around on projects with all his toys, and share quality time with family and maybe a “taste” with friends. As an active participant in the Bustins Community, he served many years on the Board of Overseers, the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals. He was instrumental in future financial planning and extremely proud of his work on “The Roads Project”.
Roger is survived by his wife of 38 years, Lorraine J. (Gravelle) Leland; seven children, Mark C. Leland of Ohio, Leslie B. Leland of Ohio, James B. Leland of Framingham, Jeffrey B. Leland of Northborough, Michael B. Leland of Grafton, Jeanne L. Santella of Northborough and Pamela L. Lavoie of Millbury. He also leaves six grandchildren; Aja Leland of New Mexico, Christopher Nolin of Arlington, Connor and Brittany Leland of Northborough, Thomas and Daniel Aldonis of Millbury; and two great-grandchildren; Caulin Altman and Haedin Leland of New Mexico; many nieces and nephews, and countless others, friends and colleagues, near and far who have benefited from the pride and influence Roger’s life has made on them. Roger was preceded in death by his infant daughter, Susan, and his three siblings; Rodney C. Leland, Sarah E. Cawley and Dorothy F. Taylor.
Calling hours for Roger will be held from 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 22, at Hays Funeral Home, 56 Main Street, Northborough. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Thursday, January 23, at Saint Rose of Lima Parish, 244 W. Main Street, Northborough. Burial with Military Honors will follow in Howard Street Cemetery, Northborough.
In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations be made in his memory to the Wounded Warrior Project, Worcester Chapter, or given his love of education, to the institute of higher learning of your choice.