Leo Adler Leo was born in Baker City, Oregon, the youngest of three Adler children, in June of 1895. At the age of nine, Leo began his business on a street in Baker peddling magazines from a single paper bag with Saturday Evening Post on the front side and Ladies Home Journal on the reverse side.
His first business associate was his dog, Prince, who knew Leo’s customers and routes as well as, if not better than, Leo. The business soon expanded by the addition of a magazine mail service to Haines, North Powder and Hot Lake. Several additional magazine lines were added to his inventory and Leo established his first office in the corner of his father’s jewelry and music store.
After graduation from Baker High School, this industrious youth followed his father’s advice to “stay home and work to get a head start while the others are in college.” By age 20 he had created a major magazine reshipping business which ultimately employed a staff of 30 members, most of whom dedicated over 25 years of service to Leo. He retired at age 77 after making history in the magazine business by developing a seven-state empire with 2,000 outlets and selling more than 3 million magazines annually.
Leo was a self-made millionaire with a keen mind and an amazingly modest standard of living. He never married, but possessed a deep caring for people. Throughout his lifetime he used his money to help those less fortunate and to support community services. His first major gift to the city was the purchase of a pumper truck for the Fire Department in 1939. He donated large sums annually to St. Elizabeth Hospital and over the years donated numerous ambulances to the Baker City Fire Department. Leo ordered steaks delivered by taxi to the fire station on many occasions, and he provided a television set for the firemen to watch on night duty.
Leo was an avid baseball fan and attended over 20 consecutive World Series. He supported his beloved sport by providing funds for the construction of a baseball field in Baker City which was dedicated in his name by then Governor Mark Hatfield. He contributed generously to the high school, Little League, and Babe Ruth programs. He provided modern floodlighting for the playing fields as well as the local rodeo grounds. Leo was the major force in attracting high school basketball and football tournaments to Baker City as well as the Shrine East-West game.
Leo received a score of honors and awards from local, regional and national organizations in recognition of his dedication to the general welfare of people of the area and of the state of Oregon. His devotion to his community led him to donate generously to educational institutions, historical preservation groups including the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, medical facilities, regional development, health and welfare organizations and all religious denominations.
Through deep commitment, sound business principles and hard work, Leo Adler generated immense wealth which, upon his death, created a scholarship fund for encouragement of the developing minds of future generations and a community fund for worthy projects of charitable organizations. This was Leo’s ultimate gift to his beloved community.