Steven Ross Leder
May 8, 1950 – November 10, 2020
Steven Ross Leder died peacefully on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, at the age of 70. He was a much-loved son, brother, uncle and friend who spent his life caring for those he loved and his community a better place to live.
Steven loved life, his family and friends, and the City of Wilson. He was fearless, bold and always willing to lead, yet was known for greeting everyone with a handshake and a warm greeting. His wry smile always let you know you were talking to a friend and someone who cared.
Steven was a Wilson native and graduate of Fike High School (’69) and Atlantic Christian (Barton) College. As boy he split his time between the Boy Scouts, where he earned the Ner-Tamid (Eternal Light) Award, and working in his father’s store, Leder Brothers Inc. department store. The values he developed, commitment to service and pure joy of business would guide the rest of his life. He would go on to give back by serving on the Boy Scouts East Carolina Council Leadership Board, Trustee of Wilson Community College, the Wilson Economic Development Council and President of the Beth-El Congregation, among other community efforts.
Often overlooked was his love of the arts. He wasn’t just an admirer; he was a performer. As a young man he left Wilson to perform as a singer with his jazz band performing at all the big places of the time; the Frontier, MGM Grand, Caesar’s Palace, and many others. He returned to Wilson and with his brother Sheldon recorded two popular songs, “I’d Like to Touch a Star” and “Play It in Time” that can still be found on popular online music platforms today! He continued to sing with some of his best friends in the band Sherlocke. He owned and operated Whipples Nite Club on Goldsboro Street that was known as the “place to go” for many years. He performed in three Playhouse plays and had singing parts in “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Millennium Hit Parade”, and “40’s Radio Hour”.
His imprint on the City of Wilson and its business community will be his enduring legacy. The values of hard work, integrity, and trustworthiness he learned working with his father as a boy would guide him throughout his life and career. As President and Chairman of Leder Brothers Companies, he revitalized downtown Wilson, either building new properties himself or buying and renovating existing buildings. He served on the Wilson Tourism Development Authority, on the first Authority Board and two terms each representing the Wilson City Council and Wilson County Commissioners. He was President of the Wilson Downtown Development Corporation Board for three terms over 25 years. In 2003 the North Carolina Department of Commerce recognized him as a Main Street Champion for significant revitalization efforts in downtown Wilson. He was given the Special Recognition Award by the Wilson City Council and by the Wilson County Commissioners for his citizenship and contributions to downtown Wilson’s revitalization.
He was a long-standing member of the Wilson Rotary Club, serving as it’s President and on several committees. He was honored by the club with both the M.J. Bird and Paul Harris Fellow and the club’s Courtesy Award. He was instrumental in the establishment of The Wilson Rotary Club Foundation. He loved the Rotary and was especially thankful for the many friendships he had through the Rotary.
He is also survived by his mother, Betty (Brianis) Leder; sister, Esther Leder Brooke and husband Ron of Chesapeake, Virginia; brother Stuart Leder of Raleigh; nieces, Heather Leder Andrade and husband, Juan, Cortney Triplett and husband, Mike; nephew Jason Leder and wife, Sarah, and many loving family members.
Steven was preceded in death by his father Leon Marvin Leder and his brother Sheldon Ivan Leder.
A small, graveside service for family and close friends will be held 11am Friday Nov. 13 in Maplewood Cemetery, Wilson, North Carolina.
Condolences directed to Joyner’s Funeral Home and Crematory at www.joyners.net.