Orin Leach fell in love with boating as a boy, sailing in the Navesink River off Red Bank, New Jersey. He remained a passionate yachtsman throughout his life. At Lehigh, Leach played football and was a member of Theta Delta Chi fraternity. He graduated in 1934 with a degree in business administration and became an investment banker on Wall Street. During World War II, he interrupted his career to volunteer for the Navy, serving on destroyer escorts in the Atlantic Ocean.
Following the war, Leach joined the investment banking firm of Estabrook & Company, where he specialized in municipal bonds. He was a partner in the firm from 1956 until he retired in 1971. He would also handle accounts for his friends’ widows without charge. Though he was extremely successful in his business career, Leach preferred an unpretentious, relaxed lifestyle, enjoying golfing, visits with his friends, and reading in addition to sailing. He gave generously to charity, but shunned all ceremonies and attempts to honor him.
Leach owned a succession of boats, all of them called “Owl.” Friends described him as an extremely competent sailor who knew the Atlantic coast well enough to sail without charts and who could sense changes in the weather. In 1981, Leach established a discretionary fund for the College of Business and Economics to honor one of his professors, the late Neil Carothers, first dean of the college. His bequest, one of the university’s largest, provides financial aid for the Orin T. Leach Scholars.