December 3, 1923 - December 24, 2015 Leonard Nelson was a New York City native, a graduate of De Witt Clinton High School and Columbia University '47, a WWII veteran and a tireless fighter for social justice. While serving as a navigator in the 8th Air Force, he flew 35 missions in a B17 over Germany and France and received the Distinguished Flying Cross as well as becoming a Chevalier in the Légion d'Honneur in 2014. He was a writer who worked at Esquire, the Guardian, Prudential and Lloyd's of London. Leonard was married to Alice Dritz until her death in 1958 and had two children, Davia and Jessie. He later married Francis Lustgarten and was stepfather to Meta and Mark. He is survived by five grandchildren Sara, Lora, Sam, Noah and Molly and one great-grandchild, Billie. Leonard died peacefully on Christmas Eve. In a final grace note, thirty five years ago he wrote a piece for the LA Times about his experiences as a Jewish GI, poetically enough, on Christmas Eve.
Published in Los Angeles Times from Dec. 29 to Dec. 30, 2015.