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LEONARD LAZARUS

Obituary
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LAZARUS--Leonard, passed away Saturday, January 15, 2011 at his home in Manhattan. He was 100 years old. Born on January 21, 1910, Leonard lived and loved life for over a century. He nurtured and cherished all his colleagues, friends and loved ones. Leonard was a self-made man. He actively practiced law into his 90s. He was a bright lawyer with a gift for bringing both allies and adversaries together to make "things work." He was a mentor to many lawyers and a man of his word and handshake. For over 70 years Mr. Lazarus played a part in the resurgence after World War II of the real estate markets in Manhattan, Queens and Long Island, engaging in a successful private practice with a schoolmate Richard Klugherz. Mr. Lazarus was born in the Bronx to German immigrants, had one brother Edward, and a sister, Nettie, both of whom predeceased him. When Leonard was very young, his father, Henry, took them to North Adams, MA because there was work there in its factories and mills. Leonard's father contracted TB and upon the doctor's advice relocated to the Adirondacks in Saranac Lake. Leonard's mother, Lillie, was very resourceful and found a place big enough, with land, to run a boarding house and for her husband to run a kosher chicken and egg business. His father was one of the first in the area to save enough money for a new Ford delivery truck, and the few Jewish families in the area loved to patronize such an enterprise. At a young age Leonard helped his parents. He had the largest paper route in the neighborhood and took furs to the rail station for a furrier. His respect for hard work, people and the love he developed for nature, while living, hiking and canoeing in the Adirondacks stayed with him throughout his life. Many years later he gave more than one hundred and fifty acres to a land trust in the Adirondacks to preserve nature from development. Mr. Lazarus' father died two days after his high school graduation so proud of his son who was the first person in the family to graduate high school. He won the state championship on the debating team and was Publisher and Treasurer of his yearbook. After his father's death, the family relocated back to the Bronx where his mother opened a family grocery business where Leonard worked. One of the customers, Rose, became his first wife. Leonard won a state scholarship to Columbia University at sixteen. He worked for the New York Times and became a soda fountain man in a movie house that showed the first talkie movie with Al Jolson, and then became the manager of the cafeteria at Columbia. While in college, Leonard befriended August Gold, a friendship which lasted a life time. In later years, August persuaded Leonard to support and invest in affordable development projects in Ossining, NY. After graduation from Columbia University School of Law during the depression, Leonard made fast friends with an older respected lawyer named Mr. Lochen who saw Leonard's potential. Leonard represented the bus driver's union, three to four hundred men on strike, and conducted labor negotiations with Mayor La Guardia. Mr. Lazarus was a conscientious objector; however he served in the Army for two years in his capacity as an attorney stationed at the Pentagon. After the Army, he lived and practiced law in Jamaica, Queens. He became associated with William Edwards, a real estate entrepreneur, who convinced Mr. Lazarus to move his law practice to Long Island and open an office in Mineola. Mr. Lazarus was instrumental in the development, leasing and sale of many buildings. A project of which he was most proud was Sheldon Solow and his building, The Solow Building at Nine 57th Street, the legendary Manhattan skyscraper designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, and built in 1974. Mr. Lazarus also was a partner in the Americana Mall, a luxury destination shopping mall in Manhasset, Long Island. He enjoyed working with Steve Hess Associates, William Edwards, Milt Levin, the Castagna Family, among other businesses from Long Island. He consulted with the late Fred Trump, the Parker family and the LeFraks. Mr. Lazarus married Rose Lazarus in 1936. They lived in New York for almost fifty years. Rose was an accomplished pianist and teacher. After a tragic car accident took Rose's life in 1986, Leonard remarried a longtime friend, the widow of one of his friends from college, Henrietta (Hindy) Creamer, an accomplished economist, interior decorator and artist. Mr. Lazarus was a supporter of numerous charitable foundations, including Columbia University, C.A.R.E., Saranac Lake High School and Central Park Conservancy, Inc. Mr. Lazarus is survived by two sons, Frederic Lazarus of Bradenton, FL and David Lazarus of Queensbury, NY; three grandchildren, Dana, Nicole and David Paul as well as a recent newborn great-grandchild, Annabel Rose, all from Queensbury, NY. He also leaves his sister's children, his niece Iris Greenwald Hamburger and her husband Jerome Hamburger of Lawrence, NY and his nephew, Richard Greenwald and his brother Edward's children, his nieces Susan Qubein and Ellen Lazarus. He is also survived by his close friend and companion, Denise Bibro, and all of his caretakers who loved and took care of him for many years. Funeral services are being arranged with the Campbell Funeral Chapel on Madison Avenue, New York City. A memorial will be planned in the near future. For information you may call: 212-288-3500. In lieu of flowers, a contribution to one of Mr. Lazarus' favorite charities or a similar charity of your choice will be appreciated.

Published in The New York Times on Jan. 20, 2011
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