LOUIS CHARLES RAFAEL LECHENGER
Louis Lechenger was born in Houston on December 10, 1920 to a family of prominent Texas Jewish pioneers. He died at age 77 on August 16, 1998 after a long battle with cancer. His relatives settled Texas in the 1830's. A cousin of his, Moses Albert Levy, was Sam Houston's private physician during the war for Texas independence in 1836. He tended Sam Houston during the decisive Battle of San Jacinto when victory was gained for all of Texas.
|Louis earned a degree in mechanical engineering and later enlisted the U.S. Navy during World War II. He rose quickly to the rank of lieutenant and was sent to the Pacific front to supervise an aircraft repair facility. After the war he took over the operation of the family jewelry store, Lechengers. Later he was employed by Geo-Space where he designed the geo-phone.|
Louis was a generous philanthropist and supported many worthy causes. Being very modest, he never wanted people to make too much of a fuss over him. He did his good works quietly, never seeking recognition or publicity. Among his many interests, there were two that were special: flying and being an amateur radio operator. He continued to fly his own planes until the last months of his life. Louis tried to volunteer to fly for the Israeli Air Force during the Yom Kippur War, but was told that he was too old to fly the modern jets. He had a wonderful collection of old radios that he loved to repair. Louis had friends around the world that talked to him on his ham radio.
Louis had a wonderful grasp of history and he loved to read and talk about the great events of his time. He was personally outraged at the stupidity of Neville Chamberlain during the Munich Agreement. His love for Israel was legendary and compelled him to write an article comparing Munich to the recent Oslo Accords [THE MACCABEAN, November 1996]. The Almighty, Guardian of Israel, will be honored to receive his soul. Here on earth we will feel an immeasurable loss.
He is survived by his wife, Rhoda and daughters, Laura Patti, Marla, Melissa and Diane; and sons David and Craig; and fifteen grandchildren.
The passing of Louis Lechenger has caused me to reflect on his life of many good deeds and especially on the work he did for the Freeman Center. Louis joined the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies in 1993 and became a member of its Board of Directors in 1994. He was a dear friend and a Lover of Zion. It was through his assistance that the Freeman Center's work was possible. We were very much partners in the battle for Eretz Yisrael.
While some others in the community looked at me as a Right-wing Zionist, Louis understood the historical, political, strategic and Zionist issues that drove me in my work. Louis had a brilliant grasp of history and he understood the dangers Israel faced. He understood from day one that the Oslo Agreement with the terrorist Yassir Arafat was the height of folly and placed Israel on a path of self destruction. In our first, in depth discussion, he expressed his frustration with lack of response of major Jewish organizations to this threat. He saw the Freeman Center as one of the few organizations dedicated to Israeli security. It was an organization not blinded by the false "prophets of peace." This was no surprise as he had opposed the Munich Agreement with Hitler in 1938. Louis always had a clear vision and was not deterred by the fact that the masses did not agree with him.
|He has championed the cause of Israeli independence and security during a lifetime of service to the Jewish people. Our many accomplishments at the Freeman Center would not have been possible without Louis. He has been essential to the growth and development of the Freeman Center and has greatly strengthened its ability to fight for Eretz Yisrael.|
When he was stricken with cancer and suffered surgery, chemo and radiation therapy, his fighting spirit pulled him through. I remember frequent calls from him during his darkest days. He never complained, but instead, wanted to know how the battle for Israel was going. How I was and did the Freeman Center need more resources? What could he do to help? I have never met anyone more unselfish and modest. He never wanted honor or publicity for his many activities on behalf of the Jewish people. I will miss him more than anyone can understand.
The Hand of G-d has reached down and plucked a sparkling jewel from our midst and placed it in the heavens to shine its warm glow on all who love him.
LOUIS WAS A MODERN DAY MACCABEAN
A FIGHTER FOR ISRAEL
A DEAR FRIEND, FATHER & HUSBAND
WE WILL MISS HIM
Reprinted from THE MACCABEAN of November 1996
There is a strange correlation between those who demand "Peace Now" in the Middle East and the Neville Chamberlain Policies, just prior to the advent of World War Two. These policies of appeasement in the face of Hitler's aggressive actions when he took over the Ruhr and Rhineland territories only encouraged more aggression.
Neville Chamberlain was not the only one to fail when courage decisiveness and quick action were badly needed. The French, under Daladier, blindly went along with Chamberlain, Hitler, and Mussolini at the 1938 conference in Munich. At this conference the British, French, Italian, and German leaders decided the fate of Czechoslovakia while the Czech attendees were locked in their rooms and denied any participation in this European version of a "Kangaroo Court." The enslavement of the Czech people followed soon thereafter.
Within six months the war came and all of Europe and most of the rest of the world was drenched in blood.
There is much to be said for historical memory as a valuable tool to prevent a repetition of past tragedies. How many Jewish parents have passed on this precious knowledge to their children? If they have not, what do they expect of the future in this perilous world? Does desiring peace and dreaming of peace make it a reality? Does a peace treaty written on a few pieces of paper guarantee peace? These simple questions were answered not too long ago by "Blood, Sweat, Tears and Toil" and finally victory.