Seymour Kleid, JCF leader, dead at 77

Born in New York, Kleid graduated from the City College of New York and served in the Army during World War II.

During the late 1940s and 1950s, Kleid worked as a fund-raiser and organizer on the West Coast for the United Jewish Welfare Fund, Brandeis University, and the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 1955, he became the national director of finance and membership at the American Association for the United Nations and worked closely with former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

In 1962, the S.F.-based federation hired Kleid. He headed the women's division until 1981, when he became associate director of the federation's endowment fund. He retired in 1983.

Since retirement, Kleid had volunteered at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center in Belmont. "He just loved being a Jew," Jonathan Kleid said. "He loved being a part of the community."

Wayne Feinstein, the federation's executive vice president, had similar thoughts. "Seymour was a delight," he said. "He was a man who really became a part of the community here in a vital way."

Feinstein remembers Kleid as a great storyteller, a lover of music and a "walking encyclopedia of Yiddishkeit" who befriended many federation volunteers and lay leaders. "He knew their kids' birthdays, who they were dating," Feinstein recalled. "He was unusual in that regard. It wasn't idle interest."

Sonny Hurst, a longtime women's division lay leader agreed. "He had a very warm, infectious manner," she said. "I'll always envision him with a great smile."

In addition to his wife and son, Kleid is survived by his sisters, Rose Cooper and Pearl Rubin.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today in the Fireside Chapel of the Skylawn Memorial Park in San Mateo. Interment will follow in the Gan Hazikaron section. Arrangements are under the direction of Sinai Memorial Chapel.

The family has suggested that contributions be made to several organizations, including the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation's Women's Division, 121 Steuart St., San Francisco, CA 94105, and the Peninsula Jewish Community Center, 2440 Carlmont Drive, Belmont, CA 94002.