Lazar Kleit, 67; ran human relations body

Posted: September 19, 2012

Lazar Kleit, 67, a former executive director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, died Monday of prostate cancer.

Mr. Kleit started as an administrative assistant for the commission in 1967 and worked his way up to the top job in 2001. He retired two years later.

Everything he did "always centered around guarding and ensuring everybody's rights as human beings," said his wife, Marlena, 70.

Mr. Kleit was a founding member of District Council 47 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and served on the board of the Jewish Community Relations Council.

He was born in 1944 in Philadelphia and raised in Overbrook by his parents, Solomon and Betty Kleit. He graduated from Overbrook High School in 1962 and attended Temple University until his first year in law school.

At Temple, he met his future wife.

"We kind of, sort of, didn't like each other," said Marlena Kleit, who was a graduate student at the time.

Nonetheless, a relationship developed. They married in 1967.

Mr. Kleit was a photography enthusiast who had a personal darkroom for many years.

He and his wife enjoyed summers at a home on Cape Cod, and traveled twice to Israel.

His wife said he was irascible and was nicknamed "Grumpy," but "underneath it all, he was loving and very kind, and had a great sense of humor."

Mr. Klein was a member of Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Elkins Park.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by sons Solomon, Micah, and Ari, and six grandchildren.

A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, at Joseph Levine & Sons, 4737 Street Rd., Trevose.

Donations in Mr. Kleit's name may be made to Congregation Adath Jeshurun, 7763 Old York Rd., Elkins Park, Pa. 19027.

Contact Robert Moran at 215-854-5983, or, or follow on Twitter @RobertMoran215.

comments powered by Disqus