Emily (Emy) Leeser



NEW YORK CITY – Emily (Emy) Leeser died peacefully on July 13, 2016, at age 96 at her longtime home on East 57th Street in Manhattan, in the care of her loyal supporter of many years, Louise Gordon.

Born Emily Stern in Vienna on Dec. 5, 1919, Emy was sent as a teenager to live with relatives in New York before the war. She finished her education in New York before marrying her first husband, Maurice Schnelling, a transplanted Dutchman.

Remarried to the love of her life, Paulus Leeser, also a Dutch émigré, Emy operated the business side of his commercial and editorial photography studio for almost 30 years. Emy was a true New Yorker: cosmopolitan, socially active, intellectually curious and culturally involved.

She enjoyed skiing in Vermont, and for some 50 years she summered at the beloved, mid-century modern, lakeside cottage she and Paulus built on Mount Desert Island. There she minded their dog, Jason, hosted friends, played tennis at the Causeway Club, served for many years as a member of the Board of Trustees of the MDI Biological Laboratory, and was well known among the Sand Point Road community for her early morning swims au naturale in Long Pond.

Emy was predeceased by Paulus in 1993, and in 2009 by her son, Tony Schnelling. Emy was proof that age is no barrier to an engaged life. She leaves behind a circle of devoted friends and relatives, all of whom assumed the middle name “darling” in her presence, and all of whom will miss her greatly.

Know when to pay your respects.