Leslie Legum, chairman of the board of the Park Circle Motor Co., developer and philanthropist, died Monday of heart failure at Boca Raton Community Hospital in Florida, where he had a vacation home. The Pikesville resident was 83.
"He really had three different careers," said a son, Jeffrey A. Legum, president of Park Circle. "He had one in auto sales, truck and car leasing, and land development."
The Park Circle Motor Co., which sells General Motors automobiles, was founded by Leslie Legum's father, A. M. Legum, in 1921. It was on Park Circle in Northwest Baltimore for many years and is now on Reisterstown Road in Pikesville.
After earning his bachelor's degree in 1933 from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., Leslie Legum went to work for his father as a timekeeper. He became president in 1950.
In 1952, he organized Truck Rental Inc., which was sold to Avis in 1962. He was also chairman of the board of Republic Intermodal Corp. and president of Sullivan Lines Inc., both freight companies.
In 1968, he acquired and further developed Parkway Industrial Center in Dorsey. Since 1991, he had been a managing partner of Circle Limited Partnership in Glen Burnie, a commercial real estate development company and successor to Parkway.
Steve Donnelly, general manager of Circle, said, "He's my hero, teacher and friend. His death is a triple loss."
Jeffrey Legum said the Depression was a major influence on his father's life and led to his philanthropy, which benefited institutions of higher learning and museums.
Morris W. Offit, chairman of the Johns Hopkins University board of trustees and chairman of Offitbank in New York, said, "He was a very prideful Baltimorean and was always very generous to the Johns Hopkins Schools of Engineering and Medicine and recognized the role and value of those institutions to the state."
Leslie Legum was a member of the advisory board of the G.W.E. Whiting School of Engineering at Hopkins, which awarded him the Whiting School Medal in 1989.
Raymond A. "Chip" Mason, chairman of Legg Mason Inc., said, "He was a real contributor to Baltimore and cared deeply about the city. He reached into his pockets and willingly contributed not only to Hopkins but to the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Gallery."
At William and Mary, Mr. Legum endowed the Legum Lectures in Judaic studies and a professorship in the subject.
He and his first wife, the former Naomi Hendler, whom he married in 1939, donated many important works to the BMA, the Walters, the Maryland Historical Society and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She died last year.
Mr. Legum owned 14 race horses. One of the best known was Technology, who ran in the 1992 Kentucky Derby and the 1993 Broward Handicap. "He was so thrilled when one of his current horses, Patton, came in second to Holy Bull . . . at Gulfstream in January," said Mr. Donnelly.
Mr. Legum was reared in Forest Park and was a 1929 graduate of Forest Park High School.
He was a former treasurer of the Maryland Auto Trade Association and a member of the economic council of the Greater Baltimore Committee.
He had been a trustee of the Park School and a director of the Associated Jewish Charities of Baltimore. He was a member of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and the Suburban Club and was a co-founder of the Center Club.
Services were to be held at 10 a.m. today at Sol Levinson & Bros., 6010 Reisterstown Road.
He is survived by his wife, the former Vera Hahn, whom he married in 1994; another son, Douglas Legum of Bethesda; a brother, Edgar Legum of Baltimore; a sister, Beverly Sachs of Baltimore; and four grandchildren.