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Subject: Leon N. Weiner, 82, Developer of Homes for Poor and Elderly

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Date Posted: November 27, 2002 9:55:04 EDT

Leon N. Weiner, a Delaware developer and a national advocate of affordable housing for those of modest means and the elderly, died on Nov. 17 in Philadelphia. He was 82 and lived in Kennett Square, Pa.

The cause was cardiac arrest, his company said.

A third-generation builder, Mr. Weiner spend five decades in the industry. At his death he was the chairman and chief executive of Leon N. Weiner & Associates of Wilmington, with nine housing projects under way in Pennsylvania and as far away as Cleveland.

He was a former president of the National Association of Home Builders, an umbrella organization that called him "the conscience of the housing industry" at a ceremony in his honor last year. For a long time he was also a force in the National Housing Conference, an influential Washington public interest lobby.

His residential and commercial properties encompassed single-family homes and town houses, high-rise and garden apartments, hotels, office complexes and retail centers.

His efforts on behalf of low-income families and the elderly earned him appointments to national forums and presidential commissions on housing and related matters.

Born in Philadelphia, Leon Norbert Weiner attended the University of Pennsylvania and after wartime military service moved to Wilmington in the late 1940's. He joined a family construction company before setting out on his own.

Among his initial ventures was Dunleith, a community south of Wilmington. It became one of the first racially integrated suburban developments in the region.

Beginning in the 1970's, his company focused on housing for low-income families and the elderly. It built more than 5,000 houses and 10,000 apartments in Delaware and Pennsylvania. It and its subsidiaries built or managed residential communities along the Eastern Seaboard from North Carolina to Connecticut.

President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Mr. Weiner to the Kaiser Commission on Urban Housing. The commission helped write the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which banned discrimination in the sale and rental of homes. He later served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging and the White House Conference on Small Business.

He was president of the National Housing Conference from 1975 to 1982, when he became chairman. Since 1986, he had been chairman emeritus.

In addition to being a president of the National Association of Home Builders, he held leadership positions on its various committees. He was a past chairman of the association's Research Center in Bowie, Md. There, he led the development of a computer-controlled "smart house" as chief executive of a consortium that built a prototype and introduced it at a trade show in 1991.

Mr. Weiner is survived by his wife, Helen Smith Weiner; a daughter, Jan Hey of Marshallton, Pa.; a brother, Dr. Oscar R. Weiner of Philadelphia; three grandchildren; and two great-grandsons.

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