ELIZABETHTOWN — Mr. Wallace Samuel Leinwand, 88, died peacefully on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, after a lengthy illness. He was born in Branchville, S.C., on Jan. 29, 1924, the only child of Isaac and Flora Pearlstein Leinwand. After moving from Branchville at the age of 13, he graduated from Elizabethtown High School in 1942.
Wallace entered the United State Air Force in 1943, during World War II, and was honorably discharged as a sergeant in 1946. Returning to Elizabethtown, he went into business with his father at Leinwand’s. Eventually Wallace took over the operation of the department store, which is now a landmark in Elizabethtown as the oldest continuous business in the county seat – 77 years and stronger and more viable than ever.
In 1947, Wallace married Shirley Gintel, a native of New York, whom he met while being stationed in Miami Beach. They were partners in the business for about 60 years. Mrs. Leinwand continues to be the bookkeeper in the store.
During his career, Mr. Leinwand was more than just a store owner. He was the heartbeat of the town and Bladen County for the last half of the 20th Century. All encompassing civic pride was woven into the fabric of his being. The following are some of his numerous accomplishments: He served as Mayor Pro-Tem, then later, mayor of Elizabethtown during the 1990’s. In addition, Wallace served as a leader of several organizations, including president of Elizabethtown Rotary Club, where he was also a Paul Harris Fellow; president of Elizabethtown Jaycees; vice-president of the North Carolina Jaycees; and the Elizabethtown-White Lake Chamber of Commerce, where he was recently given an honorary lifetime membership.
Wallace has also been a member of several other civic organizations, among them: Bladen County Shrine Club for 60 years (a charter member); Bladen County Masonic Lodge for 50 years (a charter member), having achieved the 32nd degree; and the Elizabethtown Optimist Club (a charter member).
In addition, Mr. Leinwand has served as chairman of the East Bladen High School Advisory Council; member of the Board of Directors of the former Wachovia Bank; and also, he was the Bladen County chairman of the Battleship North Carolina fundraising effort that brought the ship home to Wilmington 50 years ago.
As if Wallace did not do enough in his lifetime, his biggest love, after his family and his town and county, was his love of athletics. He was a founding organizer of the Elizabethtown Little League Baseball program, and there is a baseball park in Elizabethtown named in his honor. But his love of athletics was even more widespread, as he was a chief booster and avid supporter of Elizabethtown High School, Bladen Central High School, East Bladen High School and middle school sports.
Being a dedicated follower of his faith, Wallace was a member of three area synagogues: Beth Israel Synagogue in Whiteville, where he served as president; B’nai Israel Synagogue in Wilmington; and Temple Emanuel in Myrtle Beach.
Mr. Leinwand is survived by Shirley, his wife of 65 years; his three children Dr. Jeffrey Leinwand, of Raleigh; Ricky Leinwand and wife, Eileen, of Elizabethtown, now the owners of Leinwand’s; and Sharon Leinwand, of Raleigh; his four grandchildren, Brian and wife, Amber; Justin and wife, Blythe; Michael and wife, Sharon; Erica and husband, Morgan; and one great-grandson, Luke.
The family will receive friends at the Leinwand home on Clark Boulevard and 2nd Ave., in Elizabethtown. The funeral service will be held at B’nai Israel Synagogue, located in Wilmington at 2601 Chestnut St., on Sunday, Dec. 9, at 2 p.m., with a burial at the Hebrew Cemetery in Wilmington to follow.
Coble-Ward Funeral Home in Wilmington will handle all funeral arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in honor of Wallace Leinwand to Leinwand Park, C/O P.O. Box 756, Elizabethtown, NC 28337, or to the charity of your choice.
The staff of Coble Ward-Smith is honored to serve the family of Wallace Samuel Leinwand.