fbpx

Frank Leavy

Frank Leavy was born in County Meath, Ireland in 1928. In 1932 his family moved to County Dublin where he followed in his father and brothers footsteps by entering into an apprenticeship as a meat cutter at the age of 16. Upon completion of this apprenticeship her worked for Williams and Co., at the time, Irelands largest supermarket.

In 1950 he married Eileen O’Connor and they moved to the US three years later in 1953. The pair settled in Marshalltown, Iowa with relatives of Eileen. No Irish immigrants had arrived since 1927, making the pair very popular. Marshalltown had a very strong Irish presence, mostly farmers dating back to the 1890’s.

During the next three years Frank brought two of his brothers to Iowa and in 1956 they opened Leavy Bros Meat Market and operated it for 15 years. When the business closed Frank continued to work in the food industry as a Sales Manager of a meat packing company.

Frank and Eileen raised seven children in Iowa and created a mini Irish American community, Eileen even began to teach Irish dancing in the schools. It wasn’t until 1979 when the family moved to Arizona and settled in the greater Phoenix area. Like Iowa they sought out Irish Americans which wasn’t too difficult as Phoenix has a vibrant Irish community. Frank and Eileen were some of the originals to create the Phoenix St.Patrick’s Day Parade.

Frank opened a small wholesale meat company in the Valley, selling to independent Hispanic and small grocery stores. The company grew slowly but Frank brought out four of his sons to help the business and together they expanded into greater Arizona and eventually into Los Vegas, California, Denver and Kansas. Nearing his retirement Frank received the honor of being inducted into the Food Industry Hall of Fame, he has since retired and his family now runs the whole operation.

Since moving to the US the couple have traveled to Ireland 49 times. They celebrated their 50th and 60th birthdays in their family home in County Wexford. Sadly in 2012 his wife Eileen passed away. In 2014 Frank began compiling their memoirs, to leave “footprints” for Leavy’s to come and has since produced a published memoir.

Frank is still very active in the Irish community of Phoenix and continues to visit Ireland regularly.
He and Eileen had a motto that they passed onto their kids “You get our of life what you put in it”.