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Eisenberg, Leo

Leo Eisenberg, born July 24, 1921, passed away Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, in Phoenix, Arizona, at age 95 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.

Leo was preceded in death by his parents, Barney and Libby; his brother, Yale; his sister, Rosalie; and his wife, Madge Marie Eisenberg.


Leo grew up in Kansas City during the depression. He worked his entire life at various endeavors — from selling papers at age 7 to flipping hamburgers at the Busy Bee Hamburger Stand. He graduated from Central High School in 1938 and after high school Leo went to work for Ben Weinberg, who mentored him in the hotel and commercial real estate business until 1941 when Leo joined the Marines. He attained the rank of sargeant and was a tail gunner in Torpedo Dive Bombers in the War in the Pacific.

In 1943, Leo married his high school sweetheart, Madge Marie Brennen. They had two children, Ruthie Morgan (Lou), and Craig (Pam). He is also survived by six grandchildren, Daniel Durchslag (Kristen), Brad Durchslag (Jamie), Jacquelyn Eisenberg-Nelson (Sean Nelson), Jason Eisenberg (Natalie), Rachel McMahon (Adam), and Kathryn Eisenberg.  He is also survived by 12 great-grandchildren, Kyle Durchslag, Lainey Durchslag, Kyra Durchslag, Dylan Durchslag, Casey Durchslag, Chris Durchslag, Madelyn Nelson, Richard Nelson, Sadie Eisenberg, Owen Eisenberg, Emme Eisenberg and Lillian McMahon. He is also survived by his wife, Jill, and her son, Adam Merrifield (Myrna), and their children, Parker and Lake.

After he returned from the war he started Leo Eisenberg and Company in Kansas City, Missouri, which grew to be one of the prominent commercial real estate brokers and developers in the Midwest. In the 1980s Leo Eisenberg and Company was the largest developer of open shopping centers in the United States. He was active in the Kansas City Real Estate Board, one of the early and active members of the International Council of Shopping Centers, and a Red Coater, which was the group that was instrumental in bringing the Chiefs to Kansas City. He won several awards for his accomplishments in real estate development in addition to his business interests.

He was active in the Shriners and helped organize their charity events, which included bringing the Shrine East West Basketball game to Kansas City. He was a past member of Oakwood Country Club in Kansas City and Phoenix Country Club in Phoenix and The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah in Kansas City.

Leo enjoyed playing golf, traveling the world and playing gin rummy. He was a hot air balloon pilot and his balloon, the World’s Biggest Gum Ball Machine, was well-known at balloon events all over the world. He was a founding member of the National Hot Air Balloon Museum in Indianola, Iowa. He retired to Phoenix in 1986 to be closer to his children and grandchildren. Leo lived a full and interesting life and he will be dearly missed by all of us. 

We would like to thank the staff and caregivers at Scottsdale Memory Care for their devotion and care over the past three years and also the nurses at Sage Hospice who have been so good to him the past several months.

Private family burial was Feb. 5, 2017, at Paradise Memorial Gardens in Scottsdale, Arizona. In lieu of flowers donations could be made to Sage Hospice, 5111 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, Arizona 85251 or Alzheimer’s Association 225 North Michigan Ave., 17th Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60601.

Arrangements entrusted to Messinger Indian School Mortuary.