Leonard Beckenstein

01/28/2014 2:11 PM |

Mattituck resident Leonard (Lenny) Beckenstein, 88, died peacefully in his sleep Jan. 27, 2014.

Lenny grew up in Brooklyn. His mother, born Agnes Murray, was a Ziegfeld dancer who met her husband, Albert Beckenstein, at Roseland Ballroom. Lenny joined the Army Air Force after high school and trained as a bomber pilot. After earning a mechanical engineering degree on the G.I. bill, he worked in almost every aspect of the textile industry.

As the head of research and development for the Singer Corporation, he secured many patents for the company, inventions that fueled the double-knit phenomenon of the ’70s. He then ventured into a variety of his own businesses, including a factory in Roslyn where he manufactured women’s golf shirts for the Izod corporation.

An avid golfer who won a Nassau County senior golf championship in the ’80s, Lenny was also a sailor who found his paradise on Long Island Sound. In 1985 he built, largely by himself, the Mattituck home he has shared for 22 years with his wife, Joyce Beckenstein.

A passionate jazz aficionado, Lenny passed his love of music to his son Jay Beckenstein, a jazz saxophone player whose band, Spyro Gyra, continues to enthrall audiences all over the world. Son Neil Beckenstein, of California, inherited the engineering genes, and Bennett, a computer graphics designer, acquired his father’s sharp visual eye and free spirit. In addition to his three sons, Lenny is survived by four granddaughters, Claire, Alexandra, Isabel and Nora.

Arrangements were entrusted to DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Homes. A private funeral took place graveside at Wellwood Cemetery in Wyandanch Jan. 28. Friends will gather at the Beckenstein home Saturday, Feb. 1, for a memorial celebration of Leonard’s life.

This is a paid notice.