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CMP Media co-founder Gerard Leeds dies at 92

Funeral services were held Dec. 1, 2014 for

Funeral services were held Dec. 1, 2014 for Gerard G. Leeds, a Long Island philanthropist and co-founder of the former CMP Media Inc. of Manhasset, who died at his home in Great Neck on Nov. 27, 2014. He was 92 and suffering from Parkinson's disease, said his son, Greg, of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Photo Credit: Leeds Family

Funeral services were held Monday for Gerard G. Leeds, a Long Island philanthropist and co-founder of the former CMP Media Inc. of Manhasset, who died at his home in Great Neck on Thanksgiving Day.

He was 92 and suffering from Parkinson's disease, said his son, Greg, of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Services were at Temple Beth-El of Great Neck.

Born in Hamburg, Germany, Leeds was 16 when he and his family fled Adolf Hitler's Holocaust in 1939, arriving in San Francisco nearly penniless. His wife, Lilo, who survives him, had fled Germany six years earlier with her family, first to France, then to the United States.

Leeds' first job was carrying packages for a jewelry company at the 1939 San Francisco World's Fair. He would succeed later in a variety of electronics manufacturing and sales businesses, aided by extensive formal education, mostly in engineering. He held a bachelor of science degree from Adelphi University in Garden City and a master's degree from what is now Stony Brook University as well as honorary doctorate degrees from both colleges.

He volunteered for the Army during World War II, working on radar installations and assisting in beach patrol in California. He relocated later to New York, met his wife, the former Lilo Schott, in 1950 and married her in 1951.

He and his wife founded CMP in their home in 1971, first publishing Electronic Buyers News and later adding other, mostly business and technical publications. By the late 1990s CMP had almost $480 million in annual revenue and more than 1,700 employees, including more than 800 in Manhasset. It went public in 1997 and its revenues made CMP Long Island's 17th largest public company in 1999.

In 1988, the parents turned over CMP's day-to-day operations to their oldest son, Michael, and his brother Daniel, and turned their attentions to philanthropic endeavors. One was the Institute for Student Achievement, a nonprofit organization they formed in 1990 to help disadvantaged high school students graduate and succeed in college.

Its website says it has partnered with more than 80 public high schools. "Our goal is to someday be at a point where a million children are in programs like this," Gerard Leeds told a New York Times interviewer in 1998, "and someday further than that, all children will get the education they need to succeed."In 1999, the Leeds family sold CMP for $920 million, sharing $50 million of the proceeds with employees. Today, the name is gone and what's left of the company is part of the British media conglomerate, UBM plc.

Besides his wife and sons Greg, Michael of Syosset and Daniel of Washington, D.C., survivors include another son, Richard, of Seattle, a daughter, Jennifer Leeds of the San Francisco peninsula and 14 grandchildren.

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