Leon J. Weil, a member of the TFAS Board of Trustees passed away on October 4, 2011 in Potomac, Md. Ambassador Weil joined the TFAS Board of Regents in 2003 and became a Trustee in 2009, serving until his death. He also served on the organization’s international advisory board for its overseas institutes. TFAS President Roger Ream noted that few people were as dedicated as Weil in promoting the values of human freedom, both in the U.S. and abroad, adding that, “Lee combined the highest degree of integrity with a bedrock commitment to democratic values and economic freedom.”
Weil was President Reagan’s and our nation’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Nepal from 1984 to 1987. Born on June 15, 1927, he graduated cum laude from Princeton University and served in the U.S. Navy in World War II.
He entered the investment business in 1950 and was a partner and senior executive with several Wall Street firms, including most recently Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in New York. He served as an Exchange Official on the American Stock Exchange and on various committees of both the New York Stock Exchange and the Securities Industry Association.
In addition to his service to TFAS as a Trustee, Weil served on the organization’s investment committee and provided scholarships for Princeton University students to attend TFAS’ Washington programs and for students from Nepal to attend TFAS’ institute in Hong Kong.
President Reagan appointed him to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in 1981. He was a Director/Trustee of the Council of American Ambassadors, the National Committee for American Foreign Policy, International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), Outward Bound USA, Media Research Center, The Parents Television Council, and the American Himalayan Foundation, and the Berkshire School of Sheffield, Massachusetts.
He served as a special consultant to the United Nations Development Program and an official international election observer in Asia, Eastern Europe and Central and South America. He also assisted in the development of capital market systems in Mongolia, Russia, Ukraine and Armenia on assignments from the International Executive Service Corps.
Weil became active in politics in the 1960s in New York City, meeting National Review editor William F. Buckley and publisher Bill Rusher. These connections led to him playing a key role as finance director of the James Buckley for Senate campaign in 1970, where he worked closely with TFAS co-founder David Jones. Fund Chairman Randal Teague and others who were to become active in TFAS also met Lee and his wife Mabel at that time. Teague observed, “Lee was a particularly kind and thoughtful person. He took friendship to mean that you were obliged to counsel those who sought it about how to improve their lives. Very much like our David Jones, Lee always took an interest in others, particularly in young people.”
Weil’s wife of 59 years, Mabel, who worked for years for the Manhattan Institute, died on March 19th of this year. He is survived by his three children, Kate, Jerry, and Cary and their families. A memorial service in New York City is being scheduled. Teague and Ream disclosed that it is their hope to name a Leon and Mabel Weil Fellow in support of TFAS’ growing work in Asia.