Eda J. LeShan, a former Newsday columnist known for her
advice and personal insights about parenting, aging and grandparenting, died
March 2 of kidney failure in her home in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.
She was 79.
A psychologist, with a bachelor's degree in early childhood education from
psychology from Clark University in Worcester, Mass., she was also a children's
advocate. Many of her 28 books offered advice on their upbringing.
LeShan was a contributing editor for Parents Magazine and a columnist for
both Woman's Day and PrimeTime. The latter is a monthly magazine for active
seniors published by the Cape Cod Times in Hyannis, Mass.
"She devoted her life to children everywhere," said her husband, Lawrence
LeShan of Manhattan, a research and clinical psychologist. "When our daughter,
Wendy, was growing up, she was asked by friends what it was like having two
psychologists as parents. She said, 'They made mistakes just like everyone
else. But I knew they were trying.'"
A revised edition of one of LeShan's books, "Conspiracy Against Childhood,"
will be published soon by Helios. The original version, published by Atheneum,
first appeared in bookstores in 1967.
She advised parents to "understand children by remembering ourselves." This
advice became the title of a book dealing with child-raising. Her later books
focused more on aging problems.
"But I try to write the same way [as I did for parenting] when I'm writing
for older people, where I share my vulnerabilities and my aches and pains and
my mood swings and so forth," she said in 1990 on "CBS This Morning," according
to an article in The New York Times.
Two of these books are "Oh, to be Fifty Again!," published by Random House
in 1985, and "Grandparents: A Special Kind of Love," by Macmillan in 1984.
Her husband recalls that "On her 70th birthday, she decided to change her
career and become a playwright." At age 73, her one-woman play, "Lobster Reef,"
dealing with cancer, opened in Manhattan. "Newsday said it was 'effective and
often wryly funny, in which scenes unfold gracefully,'" he said.
Their daughter, Wendy LeShan, lives in Centerville, Mass., where she works
in a veterinarian hospital, her father said. While the love of psychology may
have skipped one generation, it's taken root in the next. Rhiannon Jackson of
Centerville, LeShan's granddaughter and Wendy LeShan's daughter, is studying
psychology and is interested in playwriting, Lawrence LeShan said.
Besides her husband, daughter and granddaughter, LeShan is survived by her
brother, Richard Grossman of Bronxville, and an aunt, Edith Engel of Larchmont.
A memorial service will be held April 28 at 3 p.m. at the New York Society
of Ethical Culture, 2 W. 64th St., Manhattan. The public is invited.