Dr. Leonard Weiss, a native of Scranton, PA, formerly of Honesdale, and most recently of Haverford, PA, died after a long battle with vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease. For more than 50 years, Dr. Weiss served his beloved adopted town of Honesdale as an optometrist, civic advocate and leader of a vibrant Jewish community.
Born in Scranton, PA, in 1926, he was the oldest of two sons of Esther and Morris Weiss. Growing up on Monroe Avenue, he worked at his father's grocery store, and when he turned 18, enlisted in the United States Army where he served under General Douglas McArthur with honor in the Philippines during World War Two. "It's what everybody did," he used to say about his enlistment. Foregoing college for a chance to serve, Dr. Weiss returned after the war and took advantage of the GI Bill to enter the Pennsylvania College of Optometry on Philadelphia, PA. Upon graduation in 1951, Dr. Weiss returned to Scranton and worked for a while for his cousins who were also optometrists. When presented with an opportunity to buy his own practice in Honesdale, PA, he jumped at the opportunity. Moving to Honesdale enabled him to reconnect with other former Scrantonians living in Honesdale, like Sam and Jean Shair, and most importantly, their daughter Sally who in 1958 became his wife of 56 years, and who predeceased him in 2014.
In Honesdale, Dr. Weiss practiced optometry for 56 years until his retirement, and then practiced part time for another four years at Lencrafters in the Viewmont Mall, again working with one of his cousins in his practice. He moved to Haverford, PA in 2015 to be closer to his family.
In Honesdale, he was very active in civil affairs and matters of faith. He served as President of Beth Israel Temple for 10 years, from 1974-84, and was a life member of the B'nai B'Rith, a Jewish service organization. Recently he was honored for 65 years as a member and past president of the Honesdale chapter of the Lions Club. He had also served with the Honesdale Jaycees.
Dr. Weiss was an avid golfer, and an honorary member of the Honesdale Golf Club. He and his wife Sally were among the last members who routinely carried their golf bags for exercise, and he played into his late 80s, often "going up one and down two." He carded his last birdie at the famous "rock hole" at the age of 85.
Dr. Weiss is survived by his children Harry, wife Cindy, residents of Philadelphia, his daughter Beth, of Ossining, NY, and son Jim, wife Audra, of Mill Valley, CA. He is also survived by his four grandchildren, Julia, Sam, Ethan and Emily.
The family has asked that donations in Lenny's memory be made to the Jean Shair Memorial Fund at Congregation Beth Israel, Honesdale, Pennsylvania.
A private burial will take place at Beth Israel Cemetery, Honesdale this week. A memorial service is being planned for a later date at Temple Beth Israel, Court St. Honesdale.