Stew Leonard

Retailer Icon Stew Leonard Sr. Dies At 93 | Bix News

Stew Leonard dies at age 93 on 4/27/23. Always loved his store in Norwalk where I first went during my college days with a college friend and her family, Marlene Lambert. They had live animals out front. Went back as an adult a number of times over the years.

Then Leonard opened stores in Danbury and in Yonkers. I once visited the Danbury store and my parents loved to shop in the Yonkers store. Me, not so much. Childhood friend, Maureen Howell worked there till she retired.

Mostly hated Yonkers store because of the parking lot. It was a traffic nightmare and I always thought I would get hit by someone either parking or walking. Mom had no problems, and I went with her a number of times. Dad of course liked the samples. My parents often shopped for groceries together while I was growing up. Dad would push the cart, unload things at check out and pack everything. He would then take the packages to and from the car. Oh, course in later life, my parents would go to stores alone especially when Dad retired. If I remember right, Mom thought Dad would always come home with some things not on the list like sweets. Either they went to Shoprite on Tuckahoe Rd or they would go to Stews. Dad also liked the ice cream cones he could get before going into the store.

Like a Whole Foods and Turco’s of today, Stews was a very different place to shop. It wasn’t like Cosco but many would stock up on certain items. The prepared foods sections, fish and meat departments were just great.

I realize Stew retired a while ago but I do remember seeing from a boat his mansion off the coast of Norwalk. I went on a boat ride with Audubon who had these great Norwalk Harbor Bird Watching Tours that I see are still happening. They took us to a bunch of islands and I got an appreciation for bird watching back in my day. I used to see a lot of birds hiking the woods during my younger days. I still wonder of the birds I see in my area.

My Dad lived to 93 dying on 9-11-2013 and my Mom is still kicking and will be 92 this June 29. She sure is putting up a good fight to beat the odds of most of her family dying much younger. Her Mom died when Mom was 16 and she married at 18 to a guy that her father felt was not good enough. Dad came from a very poor Russian family. They actually met at a party that Mom’s neighbor had in her apartment in Bronx. They were also 11 yrs different in age. Mom had been working as a secretary after graduating from HS a semester early. She could do that in NYC.

And, so I ramble but my parents were very much glued to each other at the hip I would say. It was hard to separate them. When I moved back from Maine in 1977, they were more than happy for me to come back to Yonkers till I could afford to move out as I did in 1980 with a job at WPHS. As my siblings moved away to different states, my folks would often want me to go with them to restaurants and other places. Stews was one of those places. Even though I lived in White Plains, they would travel up to get me to take me out to dinner or to go somewhere else. I even took them to Broadway to see Arsenic and Old Lace (got tickets with TDF) that had a bunch of old famous actors but had to sit between them when they started arguing in the restaurant, we went to first.

I hope the Leonard family knows what a wonderful contribution their father made to those of us who shop for groceries and those children who loved visiting the goats and cows.

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