Obituary: Leonard Seymour Zahn

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Leonard Seymour Zahn

Leonard Seymour Zahn (ne Zatuchny) died at home in Malibu on Sept. 24, surrounded by his family.

Born in Boston to David and Luba Zatuchny, he and his older brother Bernard were first generation Americans. Zahn was particularly proud to have graduated from Boston Latin School, the “best public high school in the country.”

He served as a Communications Officer in the 17th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron of the Air Force in the South Pacific during WWII, and he was very honored to serve his country.

He graduated from the University of Massachusetts after the war and settled on Long Island, New York, with his new bride Hilda. Zahn worked in public relations, first with Hill and Knowlton and then for his own PR firm. He also became involved in politics in his hometown of Great Neck, New York. 

He was elected to the Board of Trustees of Thomaston (Great Neck) and then elected mayor. He and his wife were very involved with Democratic politics in New York (and he would be disappointed to know that he just missed voting for the first woman president, a loved one joked). He was a former vice president of the Malibu Democratic Club.

Zahn was preceded in death by Hilda in 2004 and is survived by his daughters, Claudia Zahn and Laura Zahn Rosenthal of Malibu; grandsons Joe and Will Rosenthal; son-in-law Walter Rosenthal; sister-in-law Harriet Guyer; and many nieces and nephews. 

At 93, Zahn loved to talk about politics, the war, Ted Williams (whom he interviewed for UPI), sports, Boston, New York and his family. He could do the Sunday NY Times crossword puzzle in under 30 minutes, in ink — a dying art.

“As we lose more of our WWII heroes, let us give them a quiet thanks for their courage and heart,” a family member said. “You will be missed.”