Leigh R. BenchBusinessmanLeigh R. Bench, chairman and...


Leigh R. Bench


Leigh R. Bench, chairman and chief executive officer of the Number One Supply Corp. in Hanover, died Wednesday of complications from cancer at Meridian Nursing Center-Spa Creek in Annapolis.

Mr. Bench, who was 75 and lived in the Chartwell section of Severna Park, had started the Anne Arundel County corporation, which sells cabinets, millwork and flooring to builders, in 1976.

He also was senior partner in related companies, Bench Brothers Realty and Benchworks, an advertising specialties and temporary services firm with offices in Lancaster, Pa., and Severna Park.

For six years before starting Number One, he had been president of Yorktowne Kitchens in Red Lion, Pa., and vice president of its parent company, the Wickes Corp. in San Diego.

From 1960 until 1970 he was the owner of the IXL Furniture Co. in Goshen, Ind., maker of kitchen cabinets and institutional furniture.

His family said he was a pioneer in the recent revival of the use of wood rather than steel in building kitchen cabinets. He also developed a vandal resistant plastic exterior door.

From 1952 until 1960, he was district manager in Chicago for the General Electric Supply Co. Earlier, he was a house builder in Auburn, N.Y.

A native of Auburn and a graduate of Auburn High School, he was a supply clerk for the American Locomotive Co. there before becoming a master sergeant while serving in the Army Air Forces in the China-Burma-India Theatre during World War II.

He was a member of the Chartwell Country Club and was fond of golf, boating and tennis.

Services were to be held at 1 p.m. today at John M. Taylor Funeral Home in Annapolis.

He is survived by his wife of 46 years, the former Mary Logan; three sons, Leigh R. Bench Jr. of Pasadena, David E. Bench of Lancaster and Thad L. Bench of Annapolis; a brother, Walter I. Bench of Auburn; three sisters, Dorothy Mosely of Bonita Springs, Fla., and Vera Sullivan and Betty Diehl, both of Auburn; and six grandchildren.

Esther A. Willey, a homemaker who played piano at fashion shows in the 1940s and once worked for the Maryland Casualty " Co., died Thursday of an undisclosed cause at her Cockeysville home.

Mrs. Willey, who was 86, had studied piano at the Peabody Institute and played at shows sponsored by women's clubs. She also played for friends and relatives and her own pleasure.

She worked at the Maryland Casualty Co. before she and Frederick J. Willey Sr. were married in 1930. He died in 1983.

She was born Esther Anna Heinz in Baltimore and graduated from Forest Park High School and Brubaker College, a business school.

Services were to be held at 5 p.m. today at Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road.

She is survived by a daughter, Anna Preller; a son, Frederick J. Willey Jr.; and three grandchildren, all of Towson.

John Elwood Snead

Insurance executive

John Elwood Snead, a retired insurance executive and a founder of the Roland Park Little League, died Monday at Union Memorial Hospital after a stroke.

Mr. Snead, who was 84, retired in 1975 as an executive of American Credit Indemnity Co., a subsidiary of Commercial Credit Inc. He supervised sales of credit insurance in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.

Before moving to Baltimore to work for A.C.I., he worked for the Virginia Electric and Power Co.

The Lynchburg, Va., native attended Duke University, then transferred to the University of Richmond, where he graduated in 1935 with a degree in business. In Richmond, he met his future wife, Ruth Reiche, on a boat trip sponsored by his fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta. They were married for 56 years.

Around 1952, Mr. Snead helped to start the Roland Park Little League, then was a coach for years. A handyman with woodwork, he volunteered at the Gilman School's wood shop. In his Homeland neighborhood, he was known for his immaculate lawn and love of gardening, Mrs. Snead said.

Services will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church.

In addition to his wife, survivors include two sons, John E. Snead Jr. and James A. Snead, both of Baltimore; a daughter, Catherine Snead MacMurray of Severna Park; and three grandsons.

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