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Leon Begleiter

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Leon Begleiter Obituary
Leon Begleiter

Leon Begleiter passed away peacefully on November 17, 2016 following a very long and mostly-healthy life, exactly two weeks short of his 97th birthday, and one week after continuing to attend senior classes at the University of Delaware's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, where he listened in his last class to his son pontificate about the presidential election.

He was an immigrant from Dortmund, Germany, by way of Holland and Palestine. During the ominous rise of Hitler's regime, Leon refused to stand in school and sing one of the regime's nationalistic anthems in 1933, when he was 13 years old. His father, immediately realizing the danger of the protest, arranged for Leon to slip across the German border into Holland that same night. After two years on a Dutch dairy farm, Leon made his way (with many other Jewish teens) to Palestine, where he enthusiastically joined the movement to create a Jewish homeland. After some 13 years in pre-Israel Palestine, he avoided the looming war of independence by immigrating to New York in 1947 with his wife to join his parents and sister, who had come earlier.

In the US, he was an export manager for American firms seeking to sell their products abroad.

Throughout his life, the unschooled Leon traveled widely, absorbing the lessons of life experience. He traveled frequently to Israel, proud of his role in creating the new state, but also lamenting the endless tensions among Arabs and Israelis. He often hosted gatherings of other immigrants eager for an Israeli state, and spent hours debating the best path. He also proposed solutions to the conflict, but died knowing none of them had been successfully implemented. He proudly watched his son, Ralph, develop a broadcast journalism career, and a second-career as an educator at the University of Delaware.

Leon was predeceased by his wife, Ellen, and is survived by his son, his grandson Joel, and by his great-grandson, Paxton. Donations suggested to Delaware Hospice.

SCHOENBERG

MEMORIAL CHAPEL
Published in The News Journal on Nov. 27, 2016
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