Frank M. O’Leary
F.M. O’Leary O.B.E., K.S.G. was a passionate, patriotic social entrepreneur whose success in business was matched by his many achievements in community development and philanthropy.
As a businessman, Mr. O’Leary was founder and president of a business group that employed approximately 100 people for several decades in St. John’s, Grand Falls and Corner Brook. His companies included: F.M. O’Leary Limited – a manufacturers’ agency which operated for over 50 years in St. John’s, Grand Falls and Corner Brook. His other business enterprises included Building Supplied Ltd. and Hub Sales Co. Ltd. – a furniture retailer with outlets on Hayward Avenue and at Rawlins’s Cross.
It was Mr. O’Leary’s contributions to culture, politics, health and sports in the province that left a true legacy for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Mr. O’Leary was the spearhead and unstoppable force behind a 13-year campaign to build Memorial Stadium in St. John’s. He was founding chairman of the Responsible Government League that promoted a return to responsible government in the 1940’s. He was the sponsor of Joey Smallwood’s radio program The ‘Barrelman’, founder and chairman of the Allied Merchant’s Club and leader of the Newfoundland Patriotic Association, which raised thousands of dollars for the war effort in the Second World War. Mr. O’Leary founded scholarships, poetry awards and essay contests.
He was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1944 and made a knight of St. Gregory in 1955.