Leon Ogrodnik passed away on May 15, 2013, in Harpswell.

Leon was a man with a passion for nature. He never saw a pond, a river, a lake, or a coastline that he didn’t love. Paddling a canoe or camping on a shore was heaven on earth for Leon. Leon’s deep respect for the Spirit of creation and for God’s earth, and his sense of duty and responsibility to protect that creation, shone from him. He took it personally and it inspired him.

In the early 1980s Leon, a sport fisherman, was dismayed to see fish stocks depleted and knew that he had to do something. From that time on he worked tirelessly to improve the environment. Leon became an agent for change. He believed that democracy works and that each citizen has a responsibility to improve our country. As a private citizen he organized the collection of data to show the effect of acid rain in the fresh water in Massachusetts where he lived, and he successfully lobbied the United States Congress for landmark acid rain legislation. Leon believed that anyone can be instrumental in saving the environment, if one puts forth the effort. He made a huge difference locally and nationally in environmental awareness and preservation. He worked tirelessly for organizations dedicated to preserving our water, including recent service on the boards of the Friends of Merrymeeting Bay and the Androscoggin River Watershed Council. There was a sense in Leon that Nature is proof enough of Divine Love.

Leon was born in Brooklyn, New York, on February 13, 1936 and grew up in Ossining where his childhood revolved around baseball and fishing. As a teen he worked as a professional minor-league umpire. After attending Albany State Teacher’s College, he served his country as a soldier in Korea.

Leon’s career included running television transmitters on Mt. Greylock for stations in Albany, on the Empire State Building for stations in New York City, and being studio engineer for the David Susskind Show, among others, at WETA, the PBS station in Washington, D.C. In 1986, Leon moved to Maine, eventually settling in Harpswell, a town he loved. He was an active citizen in its democracy. Leon had a genuine interest in people and their stories, and brought a sense of righteousness and social justice to every situation.

Leon leaves behind his wife, Kay Lowber Colvin Ogrodnik; his sister, Elizabeth, and her husband, Jerry Strauss, of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania; his daughter, Marcia Lynn “Mo” Ogrodnik, and her husband, Matthew Bardin, and their children, Jonas and Zibia, of New York City; his stepsons, Ted, Win, and Chris Newcomb, and Christian Colvin, and stepdaughters, Julia Colvin, Laura Matheny, and Sarah Unfried, and their spouses; and several grandchildren.

Leon wished his passing to be marked by happy jazz music rather than sorrow. There will be a memorial concert to celebrate his life at the West Harpswell School on June 30 at 3 o’clock. Bob Modr and the Moose Mountain Jazz Band will play joyful Dixieland jazz for us.

Leon loved young people and supported their learning to care for our environment. He was so pleased with the creation of the Harpswell Coastal Academy, P.O. Box 404, Harpswell, Maine, 04079. He believed that it would further what he knew would improve our world. He would love to know that it will be supported through memorial contributions in his name.

Memories and condolences can be expressed at www.brackettfuneralhome.com.