Dr. Ralph Augustine Leitner Jr., 72, of Monroe, N.Y., died Friday, Nov. 26, 2010.


Dr. Ralph Augustine Leitner Jr., 72, of Monroe, N.Y., died Friday, Nov. 26, 2010, following a battle with lymphoma.

Born in Manhattan, N.Y., Dr. Leitner was the son of Ralph A. Leitner Sr. and Anne Schmitt Leitner.

He spent his childhood in Yonkers, N.Y., until the family moved to Long Island, where he graduated from Chaminade High School in 1956. He joined the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) where he studied for 10 years. He went on to earn several advanced degrees from Fordham University and his Ph.D. in Asian History at St. John’s University while pursuing his love of teaching and ultimately the joy of having his own family.

It is estimated that during Dr. Leitner’s 46-year teaching career he taught approximately 8,000 students at the undergraduate and high school level in disciplines that included French, Latin, Japanese, English, Ethics, Philosophy and History.

His colleagues and students have lauded his intelligence, wit, style and enthusiasm for sharing knowledge. He was most appreciative for the messages of thanks and encouragement he received from them during his illness and was pleased to have been regarded as a positive influence on so many lives.

Dr. Leitner was preceded in death by a sister, Susan Davies.

He is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Liz Leitner; a daughter, Beth Zeman and her husband Ted of Monroe, N.Y.; a son, Brian Leitner and his wife Jackie of New York, N.Y.; and five grandchildren, Anthony, Joshua and Sarah Zeman, and Justin and Dylan Leitner.

Dr. Leitner also is survived by three sisters, Pat Saltzer and her husband Joe, Jeanne Clody and her husband Jim, and Diane Broderick and her husband Richard; and two brothers-in-law, Carl Maier and his wife Antje, and Roy Davies.

He will be mourned by numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, colleagues, students and cherished friends, particularly the Rev. Francis X. Hezel, S.J., who provided much comfort and counsel to him during his illness.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that remembrances in honor of Dr. Ralph A. Leitner be made to The John S. Burke Scholarship Fund, 80 Fletcher St., Goshen, NY 10924; or Micronesian Seminar, New York Jesuit Province, 39 E. 83rd St., New York, NY 10028.