Letter: The brilliance and genius of the late George Leeman

To the Editor:

A brilliant and generous light has gone out, but George Leeman’s luminosity and legacy shine on in all of us who knew and loved him.

George taught us courage, patience, optimism, and the joy of living in the moment. He embodied Robert Browning’s lines: “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, else what’s a heaven for?”

George lived his life according to that poetic sentiment, and he lived its mathematical corollary as well: the concept of the asymptote. Like the line that approaches but never touches its destination, we often strive to achieve a goal, only to fall short of it; so we must steadfastly persevere in order to achieve our potential. That was the essence of George’s indomitable spirit: striving and steadfastness.

In addition to being a mathematical and musical genius, George was an exceptional friend, father, and family man. He was an inspired and inspiring teacher. He loved teaching math, chess and difficult piano passages, especially from Gershwin’s Concerto in F, and The Rhapsody in Blue at which he excelled.

He had the knack of making you feel as if you were completely in his heart and mind when he talked with you: it was never about him; it seemed always to be about you. He had charm, charisma and a ready wit with an arsenal of puns.

George was indomitable, irrepressible, and full of joie de vivre. His life was a manifestation of his joyous intellect and his profound grasp of social interactions. His friends are innumerable, his impact on colleagues incalculable, his love for family inestimable.

May George finally solve that immortal equation in Heaven!

God bless you, George.

Brainerd Phillipson

Editor’s Note: The author was a Ridgefield High School classmate (as Bif Nash) of George Leeman’s, who died Feb. 21.