Leger Nicholas Brosnahan

leger brosnahan

December 11, 1929 ~ September 1, 2023

Born in: Kansas City, Missouri
Resided in: Arlington, Virginia

Leger Nicholas Mottin Brosnahan, 93, died on September 1, 2023, after a brief illness, with his loving wife, son, and daughter by his side.

Leger (pronounced /lee-jer/) was born to Earl Francis and Helen Rose Brosnahan, on December 11, 1929, in Kansas City, Missouri. The middle child of seven siblings, he was a philosophical and sensitive soul who grew up amidst the love and energy of a large Irish Catholic family but also the significant hardships of the Great Depression. He graduated from Rockhurst High School in Kansas City in 1947 and earned a scholarship to attend Georgetown University, from which he graduated in 1951 with a degree in English. He continued his studies at Harvard University, earning a Master’s degree in 1952. Leger was then drafted into the United States Army and served honorably for two years during the Korean War, attaining the rank of Sergeant. After his military service, he returned to Harvard to complete his formal education, earning a PhD in English Literature in 1958.

After graduating from Harvard, Leger devoted his professional life to teaching and publishing in the field of English Literature, with a special expertise in Medieval Literature, especially the works of Chaucer. He taught thousands of college and graduate students as an English professor at universities including Northwestern, the University of Hawaii, the University of Maryland – College Park, and Illinois State University. He earned Fulbright grants to teach and conduct research in France, Japan, and Russia, and also spent time teaching and researching in China and Korea. He published several books and countless articles in his field. Later in his career, he developed an interest in the cultural commonalities and differences in gesture and other non-verbal communication among speakers of different languages and published various works on the subject.

In 1961, while an Assistant Professor at the University of Hawaii, Leger met a graduate student named Irene Teoh, who was as darling as she was brilliant. A consummate gentleman, Leger managed to wait until she finished acing his class before asking her out to dinner. They married in 1967 and enjoyed nearly 56 years of marriage, love and adventure, including raising a son and a daughter, together. A loving and encouraging husband, Leger was ahead of his time in supporting his wife’s career, sometimes at the expense of his own. He was also unwavering in his gratitude and praise for his wife’s cooking, often referring to her kitchen as “the best restaurant in town.” Leger was a deeply loving and very hands-on dad for someone of his generation, receiving joy in the daily care of his children when they were young. As they grew, Leger approached parenting very cerebrally, taking great care in the formation of his children’s character and intellect, while making sure to capture moments of hilarity along the way. He loved to travel and explore the world with his family and even enjoyed a trip out of the country just two weeks before he died.

As a life-long learner, Leger’s greatest passion was for “improving his mind” through reading, which he could nearly always be found doing in his arm chair in the living room. He also loved to pull weeds out of the yard and to repair broken things (he lived by the Depression-era adage to “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”) and took great pleasure in meticulously painting the exterior of the house every several years.

Affectionately known as Papa Leger in his golden years, he rejoiced in his five grandchildren, took in a lot of Fox News in addition to his voracious reading, loved to walk the neighborhood and watch the progress of local construction projects, never missed his daily dose of gin (enjoyed most when in the form of a martini), and always felt most content when his wife Irene was with him.

Leger will be remembered best as a scholar and a gentleman with an amiable spirit and a twinkle in his eye, especially when enjoying a good party with loved ones.

Leger is survived by his beloved wife of nearly 56 years, Irene Teoh Brosnahan; his son and daughter-in-law, Nick and Anne Brosnahan; his daughter, Jenny McIntyre; and his grandchildren, Kellen and Kyra Brosnahan, and Lizzie, Tommy, and Annie McIntyre. He is also survived by a sister, Virginia McCallister; a brother, John Brosnahan; and a vast and loving extended family. Leger was predeceased by his parents, Earl and Helen Brosnahan; his sisters, Catherine Brosnahan and Sammie Criswell; his brothers, Frank Brosnahan and Roger Brosnahan; and his son-in-law Kevin McIntyre.

A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at St. Rita Catholic Church, 3815 Russell Road, Alexandria, Virginia, on October 7, 2023, at 11 a.m., followed by a private burial at Columbia Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, and a reception at The Dubliner, 4 F Street, NW, Washington, DC, at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a memorial donation in Leger’s name to Rockhurst High School. https://www.rockhursths.edu/giving


Memorial Mass of Christian Burial: October 7, 2023 11:00 am

St. Rita Catholic Church
3815 Russell Rd.
Alexandria, VA 22305


View current weather.


The family greatly appreciates donations made to these charities in Leger Nicholas Brosnahan 's name.

Rockhurst High School

9301 State Line Road

Kansas City,





Memories Timeline


  1. The Owners and Staff at the Money and King Funeral Home, wish to express our sincere sympathy to you. It is our hope that we may be able to make a difficult time more bearable. Please feel free to call us anytime as we are always available to you.

    Bob Gallagher
    Funeral Director

  2. I met leger for the first and last time some years ago when they came to Leavenworth to talk about the family tree. He helped edit the book for me.

  3. I met Leger years ago when he came to Leavenworth to talk about our family history. He was our editor then.

  4. I met Leger a long time ago when He was teacing at MD University , even though we wnet in diferent direction we kept in touch.

  5. Papa Leger always made the best party gathering. He is so sweet, and care much about everybody. We will miss you dearly. RIP 🙏 Papa Leger. We love you ❤ 😍

  6. I’m truly sorry to learn of Leger’s passing. He was larger than life in so many ways. My heart goes out to Irene, Nick, and Jenny. May you be comforted by all your memories.

  7. I was a colleague of Leger’s at Illinois State University. He and I often talked in coffee shops and taverns. A very memorable person, indelible, I will never forget our talks.

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

Accessibility Tools