Leonard Birnbaum

Leonard Birnbaum

Wednesday, November 26th, 1924 - Saturday, May 9th, 2020
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Leonard Birnbaum, age 95. Artist and Advertising Executive. Resident of Highland Park for over 60 years. Beloved husband of the late Marjorie for 69 years. Loving father of Marc (Jacalyn), Holly (Mark Sherman), Andrew (Linda), and Bess Jo (Rick) Kaufman. Adored grandfather of Ahrona (Jay) Golden, Nathan (Olivia) Birnbaum, Jessica (Andrew) Pratt, Carly and Amy Birnbaum, Zack and Alek Kaufman, and great-grandchildren Izadore and Sofia Golden and Yarrow Pratt. Devoted son of the late Josephine and Joseph Birnbaum. Dear brother of Lita (the late Seymour) Passen. Loving uncle, cousin and friend of many. Army veteran of WWII. Private graveside services are necessary, however family and friends who can't attend can view the funeral at Leonard’s webpage on www.mitzvahfunerals.com Monday May 11th at 1PM live, or any-time after the funeral. Info Mitzvah Memorial Funerals 630-MITZVAH 630-648-9824 Contributions in his memory may be made to the Alzheimer's Association www.alz.org .
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Service Details

  • Service

    Monday, May 11th, 2020 | 1:00pm
    Monday, May 11th, 2020 1:00pm
    Private family service-Live web cast available at
    Address Not Available


  • Army


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Private Condolence

Rhoda k Levine

Posted at 06:59pm
I also have been a member at NNSBE for over years and that tells you how long I new Len and Marge They were both so talented and special in many ways. I’m still so happy when I get to see Andy and Linda.

Sarah Marks

Posted at 03:20pm
Len was truly a remarkable man - and someone for whom I had the highest respect. Although we knew each other a very short time, I felt I'd known him forever. He was the personification of all the wonderful men in my life whom I'd loved. My most sincere condolence to all the Birnbaum family.
Sarah Marks

Chuck Kahalnik

Posted at 05:04pm
Len treated me so well while I was Executive Director at Beth El. He and Marge were amazing people. May his memory be for a blessing.

Steve Leeds

Posted at 04:35pm
Words cannot truly express how wonderful you Dad was. I remember vividly the Chevra Pokerim gatherIngs like they were yesterday. The photo is from 9/89 and the drawing from 77. More recently when I moved back to HP there were your folks at synagogue just like always...they Helped keep BethEl as my my Jewish home. Hugs to all.

Andy Birnbaum Posted at 07:05pm

Thanks for your memories Steve! Love, Andy

Holly Birnabum

Posted at 03:07pm
The Penguin brand logo was introduced in 1955 by Munsingwear, a Minneapolis-based underwear and military garment manufacturer, when it launched the Original Penguin golf shirt in the United States. Munsingwear was for many years famous for its union suits, an undergarment consisting of an undershirt and underdrawers combined in a single garment. The company was also said to be the originator of the classic golf shirt. Years ago in an email, my Dad related the story about how he came up with the idea for "Pete the Penguin," that would become an iconic mid-20th century image: In 1954 the Munsingwear salesman covering the northeast coast brought a fluffy stuffed penguin to a meeting in Minneapolis, where a logo for a new idea in golf shirts to go up against Lacoste's popular shirts was the subject at hand. My Dad, the art director at Munsingwear's Chicago-based ad agency, Powell, Schoenbrod and Hall, was at that meeting. Munsingwear made T-shirts and underwear, but their weaving machines also produced the same kind of material that Lacoste used for their golf shirt, a big seller at $7.50 each, in the 1950s.
The Munsingwear golf shirt added an under-arm "action gusset" and moved the pocket to the right breast to avoid any interference with the swing. After the meeting, Dad returned to Chicago and within 24 hours had sent sketches of a proposed logo to the Munsingwear executives. They adopted the new Penguin logo, the shirt hit the market at $5.00 and was successful. It was worn by Bob Hope and Bing Crosby for publicity, but the real advertising featured golfers Arnold Palmer, Dow Finsterwald and Jack Burke, Jr. About three years later Munsingwear introduced a second line of shirts for bowlers and Dad came up with a little bowling penguin. It was similar to the golf shirt, but incorporated a revised gusset and bowling-themed logo. With that success, they tried to convince Munsingwear to make a tennis shirt but the concept "was nixed because they didn't want to start a holy war with Lacoste," according to Dad. He did submit a design with a little penguin hitting a tennis ball, but it was never used. Also worn by the likes of Richard Nixon and Frank Sinatra, this Penguin golf shirt became a symbol in suburban leisure wear until well into the 1980s. Today, the "Original Penguin" brand has returned as a retro throwback to a swankier time, and enjoys a whole new audience.

Carly Birnbaum Posted at 01:47pm

i love this so much

Holly Birnbaum Posted at 07:49pm

Carly, a slightly different version used to be up on Wikipedia— but just vanished one day! I think somebody was doing some brand- tweaking...

Photos & Videos

Photo Album

At the Chicago Botanic Garden
Lenny and sister Lita Passen
Holly and her Dad
At Sunrise of HP
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Tribute Video

Watch the Photographic Memories Slideshow with photos selected by the family. Leonard Birnbaum - Photographic Memories


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