Former trustee Leonard E. Schnitzer ’46 died June 8 of complications
from cancer at age 78. He joined Reed’s board of trustees in November 1980 and served on
the board until 1986. He also supported the college with continued and active membership in the
Griffin Society and founded a scholarship fund for Reed students in 1979.
Born November 21, 1924, Schnitzer was the ninth child of Russian immigrants
Rose and Sam Schnitzer. His father founded a one-man Portland scrap business in 1908 called
Alaska Junk Company. Under Leonard Schnitzer and his brothers, the family business became a
steelmaking, shipping, and real estate empire known as the Schnitzer Group; Leonard became
the CEO of Schnitzer Steel Industries in 1973 and remained chairman until his death. It became
a publicly traded company in 1993 and is one of the largest scrap metal recyclers in the United
States, handling 4.5 million tons of scrap metal annually.
Schnitzer spent his childhood in Portland,
graduated from Lincoln High School in Portland, attended Reed, and then later attended Stanford
University. He was the
youngest graduate from the North Pacific Dental School and practiced dentistry in the Navy
during World War II. He left the practice in 1946 to join his father and four brothers at Schnitzer
Schnitzer was active in numerous community groups, including the Mittleman
Jewish Community Center, Temple Beth Israel, and the Portland Art Association.
Survivors include his wife of 41 years, Lois; sisters Edith Goodman ’35
and Mollie Levin ’35; brothers Harold and Gilbert; daughters Rita Philip, Mardi Schnitzer,
Sandra Schnitzer, Jill Edelson, Dina Meier, and Gayle Romain; and 13 grandchildren.