Lenny Ruderfer, age 90, passed away suddenly after recovering from a recent illness. He left behind a loving family, his sister Phyllis Schiller, his daughter Mindy, her husband Edgar and their two children Jordan and Cory, his son Dean, his wife Diane and their two boys David and Douglas. Funeral services were held at The Community Synagogue on Tuesday July 13, 2004. More than 400 people turned out to honor Lenny in death as they had during his very active life and spoke warmly of how he touched their lives. Rabbi Irwin Zeplowitz and Rabbi Martin Rozenberg officiated at the service and Cantor Claire Franco and Cantor Jacob Yaron offered spiritual hymns in his memory. Lenny was buried alongside his wife Jade at Nassau Knolls in Port Washington.
Lenny Ruderfer at this year's Memorial Day Parade.
Lenny and Jade raised their children in Port. Lenny's son Dean serves as Lieutenant in the Port Washington Police Department. His grandson David is studying at the Police Academy to become a State Trooper and his other grandson Doug will be graduating from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Computer Engineering. Lenny's daughter Mindy is a leading real estate agent in Commack. She and her husband, Edgar, have two sons, Jordan and Cory, a student at Rutgers University.
Lenny was extremely active in many organizations. He was the founder and past president of the "Gesunters" (the healthy ones), which he founded at the Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center in Roslyn. He was past president and active member of the Brotherhood at The Community Synagogue in Sands Point. He also served on the board of the Landmark on Main Street. He always said that "being involved keeps me from counting up the years.
Lenny grew up in Manhattan, came to Port Washington 50 years ago and joined The Community Synagogue. In the congregation, he and his beloved wife Jade were presidents of the Brotherhood and Sisterhood respectively from 1969-1971. There, Lenny earned the nickname of "Mr. Brotherhood" and became its long-term story teller and raconteur. He served as vice-president of the Synagogue, was on its board and over the years, served often as chairman of the United Jewish Appeal campaigns.
If you asked Lenny for his best achievement, he would probably point to the founding of the Gesunters at the Sid Jacobson "Y", a group of men 55 years and older who meet regularly to exercise together, hold monthly "all you can eat" meetings, celebrate birthdays, exchange family events, sing-along events and lecture programs and tell each other jokes. Lenny started the group with 12 men and today they number 180. The Gesunter Family considered Lenny their CEO for life and credit him with adding immeasurable value to their lives.
Lenny, a millinery salesman all his life earned a ready reputation as a comedian. At the young age of 31, he became known as the industry's funny man, touring with the Millinery Women's show "Curtain Going Up" as a featured comedian and dancer. He often entertained U.S. servicemen at USO shows.
Then there was Lenny's unswerving devotion to his wife Jade, who in her later years suffered from Alzheimer's disease. During the 11 years until her own death, he never left her side. He was her constant and loving companion.
When Lenny was asked about his longevity, he attributed it to "exercising regularly, not smoking and keeping busy by helping people." A day wouldn't go by without Lenny looking at you with a smile and asking "have you heard the one about...?" Lenny will be missed.
Contributions in Lenny's honor may be made to the LI Alzheimers Foundation.