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Leon L. Galitzin V, salesman and promoter, dies

Leon Lev Galitzin V worked for 18 years with the Delaware Celebration of Jazz.
Leon Lev Galitzin V worked for 18 years with the Delaware Celebration of Jazz. (/HANDOUT)

Leon L. Galitzin V, a retired salesman and a promoter of the annual Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival, died of a stroke June 11 at his Delaware home. The former Blenheim Road resident was 70.

Born in Paris, he was the son of Leon Lev Galitzin IV, a member of the Russian nobility, and Raissa Mikhailovna Antipoff, the daughter of Russian parents who fled the Bolshevik Revolution.

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His parents moved to Baltimore where his father's sister, Tatiana King, was the wife of the Edward King, then-director of the Walters Art Museum.

Mr. Galizin grew up on Hawthorn Road in Roland Park and attended Roland Park Junior High School.

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A 1965 graduate of the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, he attended the University of Maryland in College Park and obtained a bachelor's degree in business from the University of Baltimore in 1969. He underwent basic training with the Maryland National Guard.

He initially worked for the old Mercantile-Safe Deposit & Trust Co. and soon went into sales and marketing.

"His passion for meeting people and making friends along the way was a vital key in his business success," said his brother, Michel Galitzin, a Baltimore resident. "He was always able to make sure those around him felt special and included. Many of his clients became lifelong friends."

Mr. Galitzin became a vice president for international sales and marketing for Confab, a suburban Philadelphia-based manufacturer of private-label paper products, including disposable diapers.

"He traveled throughout Europe, Asia and South America and expanded the company's product lines to international grocery firms," said his brother.

His son, Leon Lev Galitzin VI of Agora Hills, Calif., said, "My father was fortunate enough to have traveled the world meeting countless people, but never met a stranger."

Mr. Galitizin later sold an air purification systems for restaurants and restaurants.

He lived on Blenheim Road near Rodgers Forge, then moved to Rehoboth Beach, where he had previously had a summer residence.

Mr. Galitzin enjoyed many forms of music.

"He loved Motown music and the Beach Boys and he also loved opera," said his brother. "His friends called him the 'dancing bear of Minsk.'"

He was attracted to the Delaware Celebration of Jazz, a group that produced the annual Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival. He spent 18 years with the group, becoming vice president and a producer.

Friends said his enthusiasm for music and the jazz festival was contagious.

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"He helped grow the event from a small local venue to a much-respected regional player, attracting some of the top jazz professionals," said his brother.

"I would say there wouldn't be a jazz festival today if it weren't for Leon," said Dennis Santangini, president of Delaware Celebration of Jazz.

"I met Leon more than 20 years ago at one of the early festivals and he was so passionate about it," said Mr. Santangini. "He became one of fundraisers. He got the corporate sponsorships and then he arranged for the artists' housing and their transportation."

"Leon had a charismatic personality," said Viki Dee, a friend. "The music he loved was soulful and told a story."

She also recalled his habit of wearing sandals or flip-flops well into December.

"He was on his own clock," she said. "He would say, 'Open toes until it snows.'"

Mr. Galitzin never relinquished his love for the Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Colts, the CFL Baltimore Stallions and the Baltimore Ravens. For two decades he drove from his Delaware home to to tailgate and heartily cheer for the Ravens.

He also attended three seasons of Orioles Fantasy Camp in Florida.

His brother said Mr. Galitzin truly liked everyone he met. "Except Bob Irsay," his brother said, referencing the late owner of the Colts who moved the team from Baltimore. "He always said there was a special warm place reserved for [Mr. Irsay]."

A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. July 16 at the Casa DeLeo Restaurant, 37169 Rehoboth Ave. in Rehoboth Beach, Del.

In addition to his son and brother, survivors include a daughter, Jessica Dunlap of Carlsbad, Calif.; and two grandchildren.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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