Alan Abbott Fleisher, a 30-year resident of Pound Ridge and active member of the Pound Ridge Democratic Committee, died Oct. 24 in Darien, Connecticut. He was 92.
Mr. Fleischer was born Jan. 20, 1928, to the late Benjamin and Anna Letzter Fleischer in New York City. He completed pre-medical studies at Columbia University in 1948, after which he landed his first job at the textile company Everfast, kicking off a lifelong career in textiles and apparel. His plans were put on hold in 1950, when he entered the Army. Building on his medical schooling, Mr. Fleischer trained as a medic and served in the 60th Infantry Regiment.
On his discharge as a corporal in 1952, he returned to the textile business. He later went on to receive an M.B.A. from New York University in 1960. After a series of promotions, Mr. Fleischer became a partner in an executive search firm and later started his own recruiting firm. According to family members, “he described these years as the most satisfying and rewarding of his career.”
Mr. Fleischer moved from New York to the quiet of Pound Ridge in 1967 to raise three children with his wife, Martha.
His son, Ari Fleischer, described his father as “a real man of Pound Ridge. He was involved in everything. It was (and still is) a small town. He knew everyone and everyone knew him,” recalled the young Mr. Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary under George Bush from 2001 to 2003.
On Saturday mornings, it was not uncommon to find Mr. Fleischer practicing his serve at the Pound Ridge Tennis Club. On any given day, you could find him strolling by the pond near his home, affectionately nicknamed “Fleischer’s Pond” by neighbors. During an election year, he could be found stuffing envelopes for the Pound Ridge Democratic Committee, with his children in tow.
Although he and his son, Ari, diverged sharply on politics, Mr. Fleischer remained deeply proud of his success, telling the New York Times in 2001, “I don’t like the things he says, but I love the way he says them.”
That was how Mr. Fleisher moved through the world, friends say — with open arms and kindness. In a post on Facebook announcing Mr. Fleischer’s passing, friends who crossed his path shared fond memories of a congenial community man. Former Pound Ridge resident Leslie Freeman said she still cherishes the memory of an afternoon spent with Mr. Fleischer a half-century ago.
“I have a vivid memory of stuffing envelopes with him to elect Pearl Glassman to the Pound Ridge Board of Supervisors,” she wrote. “I must have been 8 years old, and he made me feel like I was the most important person in the room.”
Mr. Fleischer enjoyed working with the youth population and took joy in his role as a little league coach in Pound Ridge. One of his former players, Chris Chappel, shared the impact Mr. Fleischer had on him via social media.
“Rest in peace Coach. I still have my Golden Eagles little league hat,” Mr. Chappel wrote in a tribute.
In addition to his wife of 65 years and his son, Ari, Mr. Fleischer is survived by two other sons, Michael and Peter; four grandchildren, one great-grandchild and other family members.
Those close to Mr. Fleischer remarked on his infectious optimism. Even when he was diagnosed with cancer in February and told he had less than a year to live, his family recalls he said, “I think the doctor is wrong. I feel like I have more than a year to live.”
In a way, he was right — he will most assuredly live on in the hearts of those who knew him.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City at amnh.org.