getty realty
Former Getty Realty Co. Chairman and Co-Founder Leo Liebowitz and George H.W. Bush. (Courtesy Rob Liebowitz)

By Sheyla Torres 

Former Chairman and Co-founder of Getty Realty Corp. Leo Liebowitz died on Dec. 12 at the age of 94 from complications of Covid-19. He was born in Bay Ridge Brooklyn on Sept. 28, 1927.

Liebowitz began his work career as a mechanic for the City of New York. He later moved on to leasing gas stations and by 1985 had purchased many of Getty Oil Company’s holdings.

Liebowitz was the co-founder of the company which started off with a few portfolio listings and has grown over time. Now the company has more than 1,000 properties which they either own or lease. Getty Realty Corp. specializes in the acquisition, ownership, leasing, financing, and redevelopment of nonresidential properties. 

In February he announced his retirement, after 60 years of developing Getty Realty Corp. He was the company’s chief executive officer from 1985 until 2010. He was also its president, from 1971 until 2004.

Liebowitz was also president of the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America from 1995 to 1997. He won the organization’s Distinguished Marketer Award in 2000. The award is given to members who contribute to the betterment of the petroleum industry.

In 2000 he was also awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor which is given to commemorate those who immigrated to the United States during the Ellis Island era. He was also on the regional advisory board of Chemical bank, now JP Morgan Chase.

In his personal life, he was a boatsman. and his love of being on the water developed into a lifelong pastime, which he shared with his family and beloved dogs.

Liebowitz is survived by his wife, his brother, six children, 18 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.

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