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Harry Helmsley remembered.

Responding to numerous requests from former colleagues and others in the real estate industry who wanted to honor her husband Harry, Leona Helmsley arranged a simple and elegant service that was held last Tuesday at the Marble Collegiate Church.

Long-time publicist Howard Rubenstein and others such as Edward A. Friedman of Newmark helped with the invitations to the private service that was nevertheless attended by over 650 people.

At the conclusion, Leona Helmsley, tanned and elegant in a black suit and white crochet collar, graciously met with every single person in a receiving room in the rear of the opulent chapel. She was often brought to tears as the love of her life was recalled by speaker after speaker.

Long-time partner Irving Schneider was the only person currently associated with Helmsley to take the podium. Other speakers from the real estate industry included Larry Silverstein, Jerry Speyer, Lewis Rudin, Jerry Belson and Steven Spinola, all of whom recalled Helmsley as a man who was a giant in the industry.

Former Mayor Abe Beame spoke, as did gas and oil czar and Jets owner, Leon Hess, who recalled that Helmsley predicted the migrating manufacturers of Tribeca would end up being replaced by residential loft dwellers.

The head of New York Hospital, Dr. David Skinner, and the executive director of the city's Alzheimer's Association, John A. Jager, told of the generosity of the Helmsleys, who, unlike most donors, reached out to the institutions.

The Helmsley's provided $500,000 to begin the first program in the nation for locating wandering Alzheimer's patients and ultimately led to a nationwide program with Federal funding. To New York Hospital, the Helmsleys gave $30 million that provided seed money for the construction of new facilities.

Investment advisor Charles H. Brunie, chairman emeritus of Oppenheimer Capital, said that when he tried to get Helmsley to invest overseas, he said he hardly invested outside of New York. Prod when talking about Helmsley's honesty, Harry confided that by being known as honest "It can leverage more and refinance sooner."

Said Rudin, "Harry was the only one I knew who could play the real Monopoly game and never lost."
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Title Annotation:real estate executive
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Biography
Date:Apr 2, 1997
Words:358
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