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Leora E. Landmesser dies at 57;
head of NCC Administration and Finance

New York,  June 19, 2006 Leora E. Landmesser, 57, who for three years guided National Council of Churches administration and finance with an eye to detail and a dedication to ministry, died today after a long battle with cancer.

Landmesser had not been in her New York office for weeks but she was a palpable presence at NCC staff meetings, using a speaker to comment on reports and financing, and she communicated with colleagues via e-mail.

"Leora had been very candid about her illness, which gave all of us the freedom to ask her how we could help her and pray for her openly," said NCC General Secretary, the Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar. "She was deeply committed to peace, to the relief of the poor and to the health of the environment, and she was determined to keep the Council financially healthy so it could make an impact in those areas."

Her compassion for people in need could bring tears to her eyes. After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005, she was among the first on the Council staff to propose ways to house people who had lost their homes.

Landmesser was president of Leland International, LLC, a global financial consulting firm that she founded in 1998, when she was elected the NCC's Associate General Secretary for Administration and Finance in September 2003.

Immediately after her election she was diagnosed with a lethal form of cancer. "I went to Bob Edgar and told him, you don't have to go through with this if you don't want to," Landmesser recalled. But Edgar asked her to take the job to which she had been elected.

Leora E. Landmesser was a seasoned financial officer with experience in a wide range of organizations, including the United Methodist Church, United Nations, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

She was senior investment officer of The United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, serving in that post from 1993 to1998.

From 1987 to 1993 she held several positions in the foundation community, the most recent of which were comptroller and director of administration for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and comptroller and director of administration for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Earlier she was a member of the World Division staff of The United Methodist Church’s General Board of Global Ministries. During more than 16 years with the board, she rose to become the World Division’s assistant treasurer.

Landmesser was a member of Grace United Methodist Church, Wyckoff, N.J., where she served on the finance, stewardship and mission committees. Among other volunteer activities, she was a trustee of The Interchurch Center in New York City.

"She was such a vivid presence among us, so powerful in personality and intellect and faith," Edgar said. We mourn her passing and pray for her family -- and for ourselves -- who will miss her."

Messages to the family may be sent to her sister, Jeanette Staats, in care of the National Council of Churches USA, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10115.

A high resolution picture of Leora Landmesser is available here.

Photo by Kathleen Cameron

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