Leon died on Saturday, April 20th at his home in Riverdale, New York at the age of 84. Born in Elmira, New York he was the last surviving child of Solomon and Lena Horwitz and the grandson of the first ordained rabbi in Elmira, Moses Aaron Horwitz, and his wife Rachel. His beloved wife of 52 years, Phyllis, predeceased him, as did his sister, Helen Jerome, and his brothers, David, Alexander (Sandy), Harold, Gerald and Samuel. He is survived by his son, Jeffrey A. Horwitz (Ellie Bogdonoff) of New York City, his daughter, Gayle M. Horwitz (David Kolodny) of New York City, and his four grandchildren, Emma and Aaron Horwitz and Jonathan and Michael Kolodny.
Leon attended Elmira Free Academy, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, St. Lawrence University (BA) and Elmira College (MS in Ed.). He served in the U.S. Army Reserve and was called up to active duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis. After more than 40 years in the paper and packaging distribution business, from salesman to President, he stopped traveling in 1994 and joined the non-profit world in Binghamton, New York, serving as Executive Director of the BC Pops and its successor the Binghamton Philharmonic for four years and then Deputy Director of Roberson Museum & Science Center for nine years. He also served as Planning Coordinator (CFO) of Broome County Gang Prevention, Inc., a unit of the Binghamton Housing Authority, and as Adjunct Lecturer of Yiddish at Binghamton University. Following his wife’s death in 2009, he moved to Riverdale, New York, and worked in the finance office of the East Harlem Tutorial Program and later volunteered in the finance office of the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, New York.
A scholar, an actor and an avid tennis player, Leon was a prodigious and committed community volunteer, serving many roles in Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation, including District Governor, Paul Harris Fellow and many others in Binghamton, NY, Providence, RI, and White Plains, NY. He chaired the Temple Israel Religious School for six years, and served as President of the synagogue. He was President of the Empire Region and later a member of the International Board of Directors of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, President of the Board of Directors of Baden Powell Council of Boys Scouts and a recipient of the Silver Beaver Award. During his years with the orchestra, he was an active participant in the American Symphony Orchestra League.
A graveside funeral will be held in the Franklin Street Cemetery in Elmira, NY at 2pm on Monday, April 22, 2019. A memorial service will be held and the family will receive visitors from 4 to 7 pm Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale (CSAIR). The family will again receive visitors from 4:30 to 7:30 pm on Thursday, May 2 in the Gordon Reading Room at The Harvard Club of New York City, 27 West 44th Street, New York, New York. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Leon’s name to Congregation Kol Ami, 1008 West Water Street, Elmira, NY 14905, CSAIR, 475 West 250th Street, Riverdale, NY 10471 or The Rotary Foundation, rotary.org. www.bakerfamilyfuneralhome.com
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