Cover photo for Richard Dean Cruz's Obituary
Richard Dean Cruz Profile Photo
1988 Richard 2022

Richard Dean Cruz

August 13, 1988 — August 2, 2022

Richard Dean Cruz, 33, of Harrisburg, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, August 2, 2022 at UPMC Harrisburg Hospital. He leaves behind his husband, George R. Leach; his mother, Mary (Cruz) Nishioka of Yukuhashi City, Japan; and in-laws, Andrea and Sam Leach of Lemoyne, PA.

Dean was born in the Philippines, but grew up between the Philippines and Japan. This mix of cultures would make him curious and eager to explore the world. He would earn a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics from Far Eastern University in Manila where he was a member of the school’s dance team. From there, he moved to Japan for work; most notably with Seiha English Academy in Fukuoka, and later with the Yukuhashi City Board of Education where he was an English teacher. His outgoing and bubbly personality would be a hit with his students in pre-kindergarten through elementary school.

In a small town a few hours away, George was also teaching English to Japanese elementary and middle school students, though his roots were in the U.S. Finding one another made a somewhat isolating situation exciting and worthwhile for them both, each traveling to the other’s home for long weekends and enjoying the dichotomy of bustling city life versus the quiet countryside. Dean was fun and charming, and he was always on the go. He enjoyed shopping, fashion, singing, and having George take impromptu photo shoots of him wherever they would go. You couldn’t miss him in a social setting, as he would make it a point to zip around and chat with each and every person. His creative mind aspired to become a fashion designer, and he hoped to one day showcase his beautiful voice on The X Factor.

In May 2018, after a beach-side photo shoot on their beloved Japanese island of Amakusa, George would propose to Dean. It was their dream to live in the U.S. and live a simple life. So, in early April 2019, appropriately at the peak of sakura season, Dean successfully passed his interview to gain his visa to the U.S. He and George made quick work of leaving for America that summer, and then marrying shortly thereafter. The pandemic was crushing to Dean’s outgoing free spirit, and his dreams of pursuing fashion were indefinitely put on hold. Less than a year into his arrival in America, he was forced to figure out how to make a living and stay busy in an atypical working world. His interest and knowledge of retro video games would allow him to buy, sell, refurbish and restore classic gaming consoles.

Of the many holes that Dean will leave, his angelic voice (undoubtedly singing pop hits) and magnetic personality top the list. He was always neat and tidy, and giving something a deep clean made his day. Thanks to how persnickety he was with the photos George would take, there are literally thousands of pictures to remember him by. This vibrant soul has left us all too soon, but those he touched will forever remember his charming and tender way.

Services will be private and held at the convenience of the family.

In lieu of flowers, please consider singing or dancing along to your favorite song, cleaning something extremely well in his honor, or by making a contribution to the Elton John AIDS Foundation at


Visits: 83

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree