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1937 Leonardo (Lenny) 2024

Leonardo (Lenny) Checchia

March 31, 1937 — February 9, 2024


Leonardo Checchia, aka “Lenny,” was born in Castelluccio Valmaggiore (Foggia), Italy, on March 31, 1937, and drew his last breaths, surrounded by family in Frederick, MD, on February 9, 2024. 

His early years coincided with the lead-up to World War II in a mountain village where life was simple, and times were tough. He grew up fast, as his father was called to war—and thought dead for years before he ultimately returned—and his mother and sister looked to him to be “the man” of the family. It was a time of austerity, and it shaped his values. He had a fierce work ethic, he was completely devoted to family, and he loved soccer, even if as a kid no one could afford a ball and there was no such thing as shin guards or cleats. 

As a teenager, his family had the opportunity to move to the U.S. These were the days of travel-byship—traversing the rocky seas of the Atlantic for weeks to arrive at an unknown, strange place. A place where he’d fall in love with apple pie, democracy, and the gifts this country rewarded his tireless hard work. He was America’s Number One Fan. 

In his mid-twenties, he married Carmela D’Angelico, and they started a family. Together with a savings of $11.45—as the story goes—they planted roots in the U.S. while honoring their cherished generationsold traditions. Of course, many were food-related and involved being outdoors and in his garden—his favorite place. Each season had its ritual. They planted and canned tomatoes in the summer, they made wine in the fall, they cured meats in the winter, and they gathered wild greens in spring. Taralli and pizza, well that's year-round. Aside from the many delicious meals shared together, they lovingly restored a centuries-old stone farmhouse in Frederick, MD, where they regularly gathered friends and family for special occasions, fresh country air, hunting, or a splash in the pool. 

As a proud small business owner, he realized the American dream. Throughout the 1960s, he worked as a barber, and it was during downtime in the barber shop that he discovered a love for following the news and politics. He loved to read. When hairstyles grew long and shaggy in the 1970s, he changed careers, and started a construction business (L.C. Remodeling, Co.). While his career choices were practical—he worked hard to provide for the family—his real talent was for inventions and hacks for process improvement, such as a special way to rig a latch or building a DIY snowplow. He also was a master storyteller. A virtuoso, he wove intricate narratives that not only entertained but also imparted lifelong lessons and wisdom to the next generation. He was happiest when working outdoors on endless projects at home, foraging for wild oregano in his village of birth, and sharing homegrown figs with his grandchildren. 

He is preceded in death by his parents, Antonio and Maria Checchia. He is survived by his sister Rocchina “Rina” Campanaro and brother Mario Checchia; his wife Carmela Checchia; four children, Maria Ciazza (Eric), Rocchina “Ina” Checchia, Antonio “Tony C” Checchia (Jennifer), and Sonia Checchia (Assem); and nine grandchildren, Michael Fratantuono, Gabriella Fratantuono, Matthew Ciazza, Kayla McMahon, Brianna McMahon, Lucas Checchia, Gianna Checchia, Carmela Nasr, and Nellie Nasr. 

A funeral mass will be held at St Joseph-on-Carrollton Manor Catholic Church in Frederick, MD, on Thursday, February 15, at 11:00 a.m with Fr. Matthew DeFusco officiating. Burial at Resthaven immediately following. 

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to Life With Cancer.

The service will be live streamed here:

Arrangements are by Stauffer Funeral Home.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Leonardo (Lenny) Checchia, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, February 15, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Joseph on Carrollton Manor

5843 Manor Woods Rd, Frederick, MD 21703

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