Princeton resident Richard C. Leone, who served as state treasurer for Governor Brendan Byrne and as a past chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, died on July 16. He was 75 years old.
Leone was being treated for Parkinson’s disease and was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. Born in Webster, New York in 1940, he spent the bulk of his career in public service.
A graduate of the University of Rochester, Leone earned a master’s degree and a doctorate at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. A pragmatic progressive whose views were forged during the Kennedy era, he worked on many local and national campaigns. One of his proudest moments was working as an advance man on Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign in Oregon. He also worked on presidential campaigns for George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis and Bill Bradley.
In the 1960s, Leone was executive director of the White House Task Force on The Cities. He managed Brendan Byrne’s two successful campaigns for Governor of New Jersey in 1973 and 1977. From 1974 to 1977, Leone was state treasurer of New Jersey. In 2005, he served as chairman of Governor Jon Corzine’s transition committee. Leone served as a commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and was chairman of the Port Authority from 1990 to 1994.
From 1989 to 2011, Leone was president of the Century Foundation (formerly Twentieth Century Fund), a public policy think tank. He steered the foundation to concentrate on such issues as inequality and civil liberties and he fought against attempts at privatizing Social Security.
Princeton University Professor Paul Starr wrote a tribute column in the American Prospect on July 20 recalling Leone’s talent and integrity as a public servant.
Leone’s private sector jobs included working as President of the New York Mercantile Exchange and a managing director at Dillon Read & Co. He was a director and trustee of multiple funds at Dreyfus Corp. and serves on the board of the Center for American Progress.
Burial is private. A memorial service will take place in Princeton in September. Leone is survived by his wife, Meg Cox Leone; his children Kate Leone and Max Leone, and his granddaughter Lucy Kirschner, as well as his sister Sandra Leone Thomas Brooks and first wife, Anita Leone. As well as many nieces, nephews and cousins. Those wishing to honor his memory can make donations to New Jersey Policy Perspective or The Michael J. Fox Foundation.