Leon Strauss, pharmacist

July 25, 2013

Leon Strauss, a pharmacist who formerly owned State Drugs in the District, died July 10 at his home in Chevy Chase. He was 91.

The cause was complications of pneumonia, said his son, Michael Strauss.

In 1949, Mr. Strauss became an owner of State Drugs at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. There, he operated a racially integrated soda counter and food tables at a time when most food-service facilities in the District were segregated, his family said.

He moved the pharmacy to Alabama Avenue SE in the early 1960s and made home deliveries of prescriptions to people unable to get to the store. At a time when many chain grocery stores had moved out of the area, Mr. Strauss operated one of the few drug and food stores in the neighborhood. He retired in 1984.

Leon Strauss, a native of Baltimore, graduated in 1944 from the University of Maryland’s School of Pharmacy. During World War II, he served in the Navy in the Pacific.

He was a tennis player who won two Maryland state championships in his age group, the first in 1939, when he was 18, and the second in 2001, when he was 80.

Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Phyllis Levin Strauss of Chevy Chase; three sons, Steven Strauss of New Rochelle, N.Y., Paul Strauss of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Michael Strauss of Chevy Chase; and seven grandchildren.

— Bart Barnes