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Port Washington lawyer Leonard Weintraub dies

Leonard Weintraub, a Port Washington lawyer, fought for social justice causes and cut a distinctive figure in his trademark beret.

His wife, Lillian McCormick, said Weintraub's life was spent in a quest for knowledge and adventure.

Weintraub died Oct. 14 of pneumonia. He was 92.

"He had a thirst for knowledge," she said. "He cared about everything. He was interested in life."

Born on Feb. 3, 1918, in the Bronx, Weintraub studied at St. John's University when he was 16, graduating in three years before going on to receive a law degree there - all while working as a Fuller Brush salesman, McCormick said.

He also served in the Army during World War II, participating in the Normandy invasion.

"His experience there was hell," McCormick said, adding that he refused to talk about it for 40 years.

After his military service, Weintraub returned to the States to marry his first wife, Leah, and run a law practice in Port Washington. Leah died in a car crash in 1988.

Weintraub helped to found the Community Synagogue in Port Washington, and worked pro bono for several social causes, including Group Home of Port Washington, which wanted to build a home for runaway children in a residential area.

He litigated the case against the Town of North Hempstead, which opposed the plan on zoning grounds. The New York Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the group home, creating a precedent that helped to clear the way for similar homes across the country.

McCormick said winning the case was one of the brightest moments in his career.

"He was proud of being a successful hometown lawyer," she said. "He was very much respected."

He also served on several nonprofit boards, including that of the Family and Children's Association.

Weintraub enjoyed wearing distinctive clothing, McCormick said, and was rarely seen without his beloved berets for the last 20 years. He was a co-owner of the Aqua Manor, a restaurant formerly in Huntington. McCormick said Weintraub would often fly to Italy, seeking out new recipes for the restaurant.

In addition to his wife, Weintraub is survived by daughters Abby Dress of Shelter Island and Jane Holly Weintraub of Mount Vernon, N.H.; and stepsons Michael McCormick of Laguna Niguel, Calif., William McCormick of San Clemente, Calif., and Brad McCormick of Boca Raton, Fla.

He was buried at Nassau Knolls Cemetery in Port Washington.

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