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University Life Trustee Norman Leenhouts dies at age 81

January 9, 2017
Norman Leenhouts

Norman Leenhouts

Norman P. Leenhouts ’56, longtime University trustee, died January 7 at age 81.

As an alumnus, advisor, and supporter of the University during the past six decades, he had far-reaching impact, helping shape the success of the institution and its programs, particularly the UR Medicine Stroke program; and as a prominent Rochester business leader, he was widely recognized for his commitment to helping the community succeed through his entrepreneurial vision.

“Norm Leenhouts will be remembered for his devotion to his family, church, and personal warmth,” said University President Joel Seligman. “He will be missed, but his legacy endures through his remarkable family and his many contributions to the University and broader community.”

Leenhouts and twin brother, Nelson Leenhouts ’56, founded Home Leasing Corp. in 1967.  The company ultimately became Home Properties Inc., a publicly traded, multibillion-dollar real estate investment trust, where the brothers were co-CEOs until 2003. Norman then went on to co-found Broadstone Real Estate, which manages two real estate investment trusts, Broadstone Net Lease and Broadtree Homes, that he founded with his daughter, Amy Tait ’85S (MBA).

The Leenhouts brothers were involved in such notable area projects as Clinton Square, Blue Heron Country Club, Northgate Shopping Center, Southview Commons, and medical buildings at Park Ridge and Rochester General hospitals. The Norman and Nelson Leenhouts Scholarship Fund was established in 2001 in Arts, Sciences & Engineering in appreciation of the financial aid the two brothers received as undergraduates. Norman received his bachelor’s degree in business.

Leenhouts received the University’s Charles Force Hutchison and Marjorie Smith Hutchison Medal in 2013 in recognition of his inspirational achievements as a pioneering business leader and his service to the University and broader community.  He was inducted into the Rochester Business Hall of Fame in 2002, a fitting recognition of more than 40 years of experience in residential and commercial real estate.

He began service on the Board of Trustees in 1986, moving to senior trustee status in 1996, and to life trustee status in 2000.  He served on the Development and Student Affairs committees, and he was on the Facilities Committee for 10 years, chairing it for three.

He served on the School of Medicine and Dentistry Trustee Visiting Committee and was deeply involved with the Department of Neurosurgery and the Del Monte Institute.  During The Meliora Challenge fundraising campaign, he served as co-chair for the Neuromedicine Campaign at the Medical Center.  He and his wife, Arlene, established the Leenhouts Family Endowment for Stroke Care and Recovery.   The endowment supports research, clinical, and educational programs focused on stroke care and recovery.  The inaugural Leenhouts Family Endowed Lecture in Stroke Care and Recovery took place in 2015.

Webster Pilcher, chair of the Department of Neurosurgery and the Ernest and Thelma Del Monte Distinguished Professor in Neuromedicine, recalls the commitment of Leenhouts to advancing neuromedicine and stroke care at the Medical Center.

“Norman has left an indelible mark on me personally and upon all of us in neurosurgery and neuromedicine,” said Pilcher.  “His humble origins, his devotion to his wife and his family, and his extraordinary successes in business were juxtaposed with a lifelong commitment to personal charity within our community and beyond.  His desire to help us develop cutting-edge research and clinical programs which will improve outcomes and reduce suffering in patients with stroke and brain tumors has been a source of inspiration to all of us within neuromedicine. While it is true that we will never see the likes of Norman again–all of us will feel his presence for many, many years to come.”

Leenhouts is survived by Arlene, his wife of 61 years; daughters, Laurie Leenhouts and Amy Tait; grandchildren and great grandchildren; his brother, Nelson, and his sister, Martha Leenhouts.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, January 15, at 2 p.m. at Hale Auditorium at Roberts Wesleyan College, 2301 Westside Dr., Rochester, NY 14624.

To read more about his life, visit the Democrat & Chronicle’s article online.

In lieu of flowers, the family lists the following organizations to which donations can be made in his memory: Rochester Youth for Christ; the Leenhouts Family Endowment for Stroke Care and Recovery at the University of Rochester Medical Center (online form); or to a charity of personal choice.  Additional information can be found at

University flags will be lowered on January 12 in Leenhouts’s memory.


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