David W. Leader
David W. Leader, life-long resident of West Hartford, CT, died August 4 at the age of 97. He was dedicated to his family, service to the general and Jewish communities and public education.

Born in Hartford, CT on March 22, 1911 to Yetta Bender and Morris Leader, he graduated from Weaver High School in Hartford, CT, where he was president of his class, the Honor Society, drama club and the glee club. He received the Sterling Scholarship to Yale University graduating in 1933 on the Deans List and achieved a Masters Degree in Education from New York University in 1941.

His real career was teaching in the Hartford, CT and Old Saybrook, CT schools, but he also had a successful, twenty-five year business career as Vice President of M. Gilston, Inc., a supplier of laundry and dry cleaning equipment.

Believing in community service, David held numerous volunteer positions and was elected to the Boards of Education in both Hartford, CT in 1947 and West Hartford, CT in 1952. He was a founder and President of Beth El Temple in West Hartford, CT. He served as Vice President for both the Hartford Jewish Social Service and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Hartford. He was President of the PTAs for Bugbee and King Phillip Schools in West Hartford, CT. During World War II, he was Chairman of the Greater Hartford U.S.O.

Beginning in 1996, David Leader lived at The McAuley on Steele Road in West Hartford, CT, where he was Chairman of the Wellness Committee, played many hands of bridge, talked politics with anyone who would listen, and appreciated the company of many great friends.

He always enjoyed golf, Dixieland jazz, singing, crossword puzzles, bridge, political debates, the Boston Red Sox, slap stick comedy and growing roses.

Most of all he loved his family. He was pre-deceased by his devoted wife of fifty years, Sylvia Gilston, a daughter Susan, and siblings Millicent and Arthur. He leaves two children: Andrea Leader Brown and husband Herbert, a retired partner of K&L Gates, of Bethesda, Maryland, and Jim Leader, founding partner of Leader & Berkon LLP in New York, and wife Micki of Orangeburg, NY; five grandchildren: Lauren Brown Franklin and husband Charles, Jeffrey Brown and wife Lauren, Josh Leader, Jordan Leader and wife Ericka, and Justin Leader; and four great-grandchildren: Zachary and Ella Brown and Isabelle and Juliette Franklin.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, August 8, 2008 at 11:00 am in Beth El Temple, 2626 Albany Avenue, West Hartford, CT with Rabbi Stanley M. Kessler and Rabbi James Rosen officiating. , Interment will follow at the Emanuel Synagogue Cemetery in Wethersfield, CT. The family will be receiving relatives and friends at Beth El Temple following the interment.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Beth El Temple, 2626 Albany Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06117, or to the Rockland JCC Special Needs Pre-School Fund, 450 West Nyack Road, West Nyack, NY 10994. Arrangements are entrusted to Weinstein Mortuary, Hartford, CT. For further information, directions, or to share memories of David with his family, please visit online at

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