Dr. John ("Jack") Leach, M.D., one of the founders of the UNM School of Medicine, died late in the evening of February 6, 2006 after a lengthy illness. Jack, beloved by colleagues and students alike, served in various capacities at the UNM during the last 40 years. Some 20 years into his "retirement", Leach maintained an active presence at UNM, serving as a voluntary faculty member in the division of cardiology while pursuing his long-term research interests on drugs used to treat heart failure. His energy and enthusiasm for teaching and research provided all who came in contact with him a renewed respect for the academic mission.
Leach began his tenure at UNM in 1966 as the Founding Chief of the division of cardiology at the Veterans Administration Medical Center . For the next 20 years, he served the School of Medicine with distinction as a professor of Medicine and Physiology.
He received his M.D. degree in 1947 from Albany Medical College . Following military service, a stint in private practice, and research fellowship training at Albany Medical College .
Upon his retirement in 1986, he was named Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology and, in 1997, in the new Department of Neurosciences. In 1997, Dr. Leach received the prestigious "Building Bridges" award from the UNM Health Sciences Center for his outstanding contributions in teaching, clinical service and research as a volunteer faculty member.
Leach divided his time in "retirement" between teaching electrocardiography to Cardiology residents, Nurse Practitioners, Emergency Medical Technicians and Respiratory Therapists, continuing his research on the biomechanical changes in cardiac muscle that occur in congestive heart failure and in Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, and writing a reference text on ECG interpretation.
In his time away from UNM, Jack loved tending to his horses and, of course, spending time with his beloved wife, Priscilla. Among those fortunate to have had the pleasure of working with Dr. Leach, there remains a deep affection for his good nature, unfailing generosity and tireless dedication to the medical community.
A memorial service will be held at French Mortuary at 11:00 am on Saturday Feb 11.