NORTHAMPTON TOWNSHIP >> Marie Leck clapped and waved as a parade of vehicles rolled past her Lawrence Avenue front door on Wednesday evening.
No doubt, it was probably the most traffic this small, quiet township street had seen in a long time.
Led by a restored antique fire truck driven by Newtown firefighter Bob Adams, the parade included an armada of about 30 vehicles carrying family, friends and co-workers who were all there for one reason - to help "Mom Mom" and “Grandma Leck” celebrate her 79th birthday.
As each vehicle rode by, kisses and hugs were thrown through the air to Leck who sat in a lawn chair at the edge of the road taking it all in, smiling broadly and catching all the love as tears welled up in her eyes.
Some drivers and passengers made quick escapes from their vehicless to quickly place a gift or two on the ground near where Leck was sitting.
At one point she was serenaded by a violinist who played the “Happy Birthday” song from an open sunroof in one of the cars.
The parade came to a noisy conclusion with at least five Leck Waste Service trucks rolling by and blaring their horns in unison in an unforgettable scene.
"It was exciting," said Leck's daughter, Sandy Premo, who organized the parade to honor "Mom Mom" on her special day. "She couldn't believe how many people would come out for her. She was in tears by the end of the parade. She was just so surprised that people would think to come and honor her birthday like that."
Premo said she wanted to do something special for her Mom Mom "because she does so much for everybody. So I texted my sisters and brother and said we should plan a birthday parade for her. My brother, Al, works for Leck so he took care of the Leck part and got them involved."
Premo said "Mom Mom" is always doing good things for others, like fixing meals for people who live alone, making blankets for newborn babies and recently making homemade face masks for family and friends. "She's the kindest person - very generous. And she's the best mother anyone could ask for. She would do anything for any of us kids."
Until the start of the coronavirus stay-at-home order in mid-March, Leck had worked every week at Leck Waste Services just as she has done for the past 40 some years. Since the stay-at-home order, she hasn't missed a day of work at home, completing her accounting and payroll jobs.
“She’s a sweetheart,” said Jason Leck, the president of Leck Waste Services and Marie's grandson. “She’s super sweet, but she’s from that old school era. The best way to describe her is that she’s spunky. She doesn’t bite her tongue. She knows how to keep us all in line.”
Leck had previously worked full-time as the company’s CFO before stepping back to four days a week in recent years to handle accounting and payroll.
“Marie is the heart and soul of the company,” added Jason. “If someone is sick, she sends a card home to them. She still makes homemade birthday cakes for everybody on their birthdays. And we have 60 employees so there’s pretty much a birthday every week. She’s always the one getting the birthday card and having everyone sign it. She’s an extremely thoughtful person.”
And just recently, after learning about the need for personal protective equipment at the company, Jason said she whipped out her sewing machine and went to work, making face masks for every employee, which allowed them to go to work.
“She never even told us she was doing it,” said Jason. “She just called one day and said she had been sewing and ‘there’s a bag outside my front door. Can you pick it up and take it to the office?’” relates Jason.
“It was kind of amazing, but that’s the kind of person she is. She’s always worried about everyone else and doesn’t want any credit for anything. I know all the guys were very thankful.
“That’s why everyone wanted to do this for her,” said Jason. “She’s always thinking about us. Who’s thinking about her right now?”
Marie's early years were spent working at restaurants in Newtown Borough and Newtown Township.
She initially worked at Camilla’s Restaurant in Newtown where she met her future husband, George Leck Sr., who founded George Leck and Son, Inc. Waste Services, with Jason’s father, Walter Leck in 1972.
She later worked the breakfast and lunch shift at the Township House on Sycamore Street before opening Marie's Colonial Kitchen, a luncheonette inside the Whitehall Hotel in Newtown Borough. Today it’s Pat’s Colonial Kitchen.
The lifelong Bucks County resident grew up in the Washington Crossing and Newtown area, later moving to the Holland section of Northampton Township where she lived with her husband until he passed away in 2010.
Marie has five children (Sandy Premo, Debbie Casini, Carol Sallsgiver, Al Kenderdine and Judy Adams) and five step-children (George Leck Jr., Janet McGee, Helen Krieg, Walter Leck and Ruth Gilmore), 25 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren and numerous great-great-grandchildren.