Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf, 81, of Huntingdon Valley, passed away peacefully on February 9, 2021 at Holy Redeemer Hospital in Meadowbrook.
He is survived by his wife Cecilia “Kelly” Greenleaf (nee Finley), his children John “Billy” W. Greenleaf (Yujing), Stewart J. Greenleaf, Jr. (Heather), Christopher E. Greenleaf (Erin), and Ryan M. Greenleaf, his brother Walter Greenleaf (Will), and his six grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his sister, Belford Simons, brother, Robert Greenleaf, and his parents.
Sen. Greenleaf was born on October 4, 1939 to parents Stewart W. and Belford Greenleaf. He was raised in Willow Grove and was a lifelong resident of Upper Moreland Township. A graduate of Upper Moreland High School, where he was all-league in football and basketball, he spent his summers playing basketball in Ocean City, NJ. Sen. Greenleaf went on to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania where he played basketball, including games in the Palestra and Madison Square Garden, and then graduated from the University of Toledo School of law.
He married Kelly, his wife of forty-seven years, on June 2, 1973.
He quickly began what became a lifelong commitment to public service. Sen. Greenleaf served in the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office where he rose to chief of the appeals unit. He was elected Chair of the Upper Moreland Board of Commissioners and served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1977-78. Greenleaf was first elected to the Pennsylvania Senate in 1978 and ultimately served for ten terms over the next forty years until his retirement in 2018.
Labelled a “Giant of the Legislature,” Sen. Greenleaf passed more legislation than any other member of Pennsylvania’s General Assembly, sponsoring 161 bills that were signed into law and co-sponsoring 327 other bills. He served on the Appropriations, Banking & Insurance, Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure and Environmental Resources & Energy Committees. However, is most significant impact on public policy in Pennsylvania emanated from his long-time chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In that role he sponsored provisions to allow child crime victims to testify via closed circuit television, Pennsylvania’s Clean Indoor Air Act and Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law.
Sen. Greenleaf was a passionate champion of criminal justice reforms in Pennsylvania long before such policies gained widespread public notice and support. He was driven to do so by his strong sense of compassion, justice and fairness that governed all aspects of his distinguished legislative service.
Relatives and friends and friends are invited to his viewing on Saturday, February 13, 2021, from 9:30am to 11am at Calvary Presbyterian Church, 405 Easton Rd., Willow Grove, PA 19090. Funeral service to follow at 11am. Interment will be private.
Arrangements by John J. Bryers Funeral Home. www.bryersfh.com
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