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Herman Lefco, 92, Businessman, Active Pilot and Sailor

May 13, 2010
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Herman ("Hank") Lefco, 92, a businessman, sailor, pilot and philanthropist, died April 7 at his home in Elkins Park.

Born in Bensonhurst, N.Y., Lefco graduated from Cheltenham High School, attended Penn State University, and graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

He entered the men's retail-clothing business with his father, but was drafted in 1940. He volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps, received his commission and flew 30 combat missions over Germany as the lead navigator on flights of B-24 bombers, for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

After the war, Lefco returned to the Philadelphia area, to Wyncote. He joined with his father in operating Adams Clothes, a small chain of men's stores, which grew to a successful business of 27 stores. He sold the business in 1965 and continued in a number of businesses thereafter.

Lefco became captivated by sailing, racing his boats in several major off-shore races, including three Annapolis, Md.-Newport, R.I. races.

He was involved with the Delaware River Power Squadron, teaching courses in seamanship and navigation, and served as the president of its Sail Club, and later, Commodore of the Power Squadron in Philadelphia.

Lefco was a member of Temple Judea, and later, Keneseth Israel. He served as board member and chair of the Jewish Educational and Vocational Service, as well as the Philadelphia Psychiatric Center. He was active with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, and was a member of the Golden Gate in the Legacy Society and the Circle of Partners, honored for 25 years of continuous giving to the Jewish community.

Lefco is survived by a daughter, Deborah Lefco; sons Arthur Lefco and Anthony Lefco; and a sister, Leah Schlenger; and four grandchildren. His wife of 64 years, Helene Wanderman, died last February.

Memorial donations can be made to: the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Donor Services, 2100 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA 19103.

 

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