Deacon McLeer, one of the diocese’s first deacons, dies

Deacon Eugene “Gene” Leo McLeer, 91, of Turnersville, a member of the first permanent diaconate class for the Diocese of Camden, died May 12.

A native of Philadelphia, Deacon McLeer was a World War veteran serving in the South Pacific, on the Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Monterey, and was active in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1945-55.

He spent most of his life in the laundry and dry cleaning industry as a plant owner, and with allied trades. At his retirement, he was vice president and general manager of Miraclean/London Manufacturing Company.

On Oct. 4, 1976, he was ordained a permanent deacon, as part of the first such class for the Diocese of Camden.

Deacon McLeer was instrumental in the establishment of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Glassboro, where he served from 1976-2003. He also served at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Pitman (1998-2003) and, after retirement, at Sts. Peter and Paul, Turnersville.

Barbara King, who was a secretary at Our Lady Queen of Peace during the time Deacon McLeer was there, remembered a “very nice and outgoing” individual who “was always willing to help,” and loved his family and wife.

“His wife was always by his side, and they were a team,” she said.

Deacon McLeer was a member of the Knights of Columbus Assumption Council #3397, and Bishop Eustace Assembly Fourth Degree, Past Grand Knight and Former District Deputy.

He enjoyed traveling with his wife, his family, golf, and going to the casinos.

He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Elizabeth “May” (nee Mattison); his brother Joseph; and his nine children: Peggy Zycinsky, Betty Devlin, Kay Karwacki (Steve), Gene McLeer (Sue), Patty Beechler (Butch), Dottie McLeer, T.J. McLeer (Roxanne), Bob McLeer (Kathy), and Greg McLeer (Kim).

He is also survived by 19 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren.

Deacon McLeer was predeceased by his brother Jack, and sons-in-law Bill Zycinsky, Jr. and Jim Devlin, Sr.

A Mass of Christian Burial was to be held on the morning of Friday, May 15 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Mary, Mother of Mercy Parish, Glassboro. Interment at Hillcrest Memorial Park, Pitman.

Donations may be made to Heartland Hospice Memorial Fund, Suite 122, N. Evergreen Ave., Woodbury, NJ 08096. Memories may be shared at

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