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M. Leo Storch, a”h, His Life, and Lasting Legacy

How timely, that this year, the annual memorial lecture in honor of M. Leo Storch, a”h, is scheduled for this upcoming Sunday evening, November 1st. His children, Mindy Spetner, Judy (Bregin) Gross, and Frank Storch, will have just finished sitting shivah for their beloved mother, Mrs. Hannah Storch, a”h. Mrs. Storch, his true ezer knegdo, was nifteres on Sunday, October 25th, 2020. She carried on the torch of her husband’s selfless devotion to helping others for more than 48 years after his passing.

Born in Baltimore in 1907, M. Leo served his country during World War II. When he saw the tragedy and devastation of yiddishkeit in Europe he committed to doing all he could to rebuild Klal Yisroel. He later graduated law school and practiced general law for many years. He eventually became a real estate developer and had a reputation for always going above and beyond legal requirements and code even at his own expense to ensure his customers safety and satisfaction. He was also known for his outstanding integrity and honesty. His firm handshake was enough since everyone trusted him. He was a walking kiddush Hashem in every business transaction and community affair. His incredible warmth and sincerity lit up a room and people were drawn to him.

One of his greatest achievements was orchestrating the purchase of the 48-acre original Bais Yaakov of Baltimore property which eventually led to the current Park Heights and Smith Ave campuses. He was president of Bais Yaakov for ten years and given the nickname “Mr. Bais Yaakov” He made tremendous efforts to ensure Jewish children received a Jewish education.

As one of the founders of the Star K, M. Leo helped guide the organization which ultimately led to setting new standards in kashrus. He was a true visionary who had a huge heart and was compassionate to all around him. Mr. & Mrs. Storch would treat the many meshulachim that showed up at their door with the greatest respect. They also hosted gedolim and world leaders of Torah Jewry who visited Baltimore such as Reb Moshe Feinstein, the Ponevezher Rav, and the Skulener Rebbe. Mr. Storch left such an impression that Reb Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, came to Baltimore for his shloshim in 1972 when he was niftar. Even with so many people vying for his time he always treated his wife, family and greater family with his undivided attention. His yiras shamayim and righteousness made him a role model for many to follow. Even today, his exemplary behavior and actions continue to influence and inspire the Baltimore community, and beyond.

Taken much too early from the world and his family, his loss was felt deeply by many. Shortly after Mr. Storch was niftar, Rabbi Reuven Savitz wrote an article titled, In Tribute to a Jewish Nobleman. He stated, “(M.) Leo Storch’s life was a lesson in noble deeds.

Leo Storch was a ‘gaon’ of righteousness, of compassion, and of passionate commitment to Judaism. He was a ‘gaon’ – a giant of Jewish spirit. To have known Leo Storch is to be a greater person…We are all diminished by his passing….Leo’s untimely passing has evoked grief far and wide, because Jewry and mankind have lost a beloved brother, a mentor of nobility, a living example of the quality of Jewish life, a man who loved his people – each and every one of them – and who was loved in return by them.”

Mr. M. Leo and Hannah Storch, a”h, were role models par excellence for the world and their family. May their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren continue to embody their legacy of true integrity, endless chesed, and tremendous love and respect for their fellow Jew.

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