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Leonard Serkess

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Leonard Serkess Obituary
Leonard Serkess, of Newton, formerly of West Roxbury on Wednesday, September 11, 2013. Born in Harlem, New York, on January 7, 1925, Leonard moved to Dorchester when he was two. At the age of four, he was stricken with polio, which left him with life long complications. He attended the Boston Public Schools, the Woodrow Avenue Shul, and Hebrew School. He was even known to share Seders with Leonard Bernstein! He got his degree in botany from the University of New Hampshire and began working at the Home for Jewish Children. As he proved to be a devoted people person, JFCS sent him back to school for two masters at Boston University (social work and education) and he was eventually promoted to Director at the Home for Jewish Children. One of the residents of the Home for Jewish Children wrote a book about the agency (Me, Mike, and the Agency by Ben Gordon) and dedicated it to Leonard. He married Janice (Levenson) Serkess and had two children: the late Michael Serkess and Sandra Serkess, who still remembers playing at the home with the kids. He next became an adoption worker for JFCS, and he then went to work in the prison system where he established the first sex offender program. After that he was the Executive Director for Jewish Big Brother of Boston segueing into work at CJP as director of fund raising. He became intrigued by Geriatrics and worked with Tom Flatley opening up all the Flatley nursing homes in the capacity as Director of Social Services. He retired in 1988 but continued to work part time in his field. His son, Michael, was diagnosed with cancer in 1989 and died almost immediately. That proved too much for Leonards wife Janice, who died soon after Michael. After a very sad time of grief and mourning, he reunited with his high school girlfriend Sally Green, whose husband of fifty years had just passed. They married in 2000. Soon thereafter, Sandra adopted her son John, making Leonard a proud grandfather. Susan and Carol, Sallys two daughters, were also proud of their union. They lived very happily for 13 years, traveling and enjoying all that life has to offer. Leonard died after a long illness on September 11, 2013, one day before his son, Michaels birthday. Services were at the Levine Chapels, 470 Harvard St., Brookline on Sunday, September 15 at 1:00 pm. Burial was in the Bessarabian Cemetery, 232 Fuller St., Everett. Memorial observance were private. Remembrances may be made to Jewish Big Brother and Big Sister or the .

Published in The Roslindale Transcript from Sept. 13 to Sept. 20, 2013
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