CRANSTON, R.I. – Leonard Sholes died peacefully at home, after a short illness, with his loving family at his side. He was the husband of the late Anna R. (Kohn) Sholes. Born in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, he was the youngest child of the late Morris B. and Nellie (Levingston) Sholes.
He was a graduate of Pawtucket High School, class of 1932, Providence College, class of 1936 and Boston University Law School, class of 1938. After law school he operated Sholes Hillsgrove Country Club, the World’s Finest Roller Skating Rink, on Post Road, Warwick, with his parents, the late Morris and Nellie Sholes, and then with his sons, from 1938 to 1999 when the rink was replaced with a hotel.
Early in his career, he operated the Lakeside Casino, a roller skating rink and dance hall outside Willimantic, Connecticut, where he met and made friends with many of the big band leaders of the 1930s and 1940s. He also owned and operated the Winter Garden Roller Skating Rink, on the Cranston-Warwick border, until it was converted into the Warwick Shoppers World. With his late brother Sampson, he also owned and operated the Sholes Riverview Ballroom and later the Sholes Riverview Roller Skating Rink in Dorchester, Massachusetts. During his long career he developed several shopping centers and commercial properties.
Leonard and his late wife Anna were intrepid travelers and adventurers exploring five continents. After his wife died, Leonard maintained homes in Cranston and Boca Raton, Florida.
From 1966 to 1969, he served as president of Temple Beth Israel in Providence. During his presidency he was instrumental in building the Temple Social Hall and in rebuilding the sanctuary after it was destroyed by fire in 1968. During his second term in office in 1971 and 1972, as part of the 50th anniversary of the temple, he led a pilgrimage of temple members to Israel
Leonard was a long-time member of and still served on the board of directors of Temple Torat Yisrael, a past member of the board of directors of the Providence Hebrew Day School which presented him with the Amudin Award in 1980 for outstanding contributions to the school and to the Jewish community. He was honored for his leadership and service by the State of Israel Bonds at the 25th anniversary of the State of Israel Bonds in 1976. He also donated a prayer garden at the Lincoln Park Cemetery.
He was active in community and civic affairs. He was a member of Redwood Lodge No 35, A.F. & A.M, the Aleppo Shriners of Newton, Massachusetts, Touro Fraternal Association, Knights of Pythias, among others.
Leonard is survived by four sons: Richard Sholes and his wife, Martha, of Cranston;
David Sholes and his wife, Laurie, of Providence; Andrew Sholes and his wife, Trude, of Warwick and Steven Sholes and his wife, Dana, of Warwick. He was the grandfather of Nancy and Ross Gillman, Michael and Elisa Sholes, Ethan Sholes, Samuel Sholes, Benjamin Sholes, Sarah Sholes, Adam and Lauren Sholes, Noah and Jackie Sholes, Hope and Charles Pinder, Joshua Sholes and the late Marc L. Sholes. He was the great-grandfather of Kayla and Alexander Gillman, Robbie, Jacqui and Justin Sholes, Madaline and Caroline Sholes, and Charlotte and Maxwell Sholes. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews. He was the brother of the late Bessie Lipson, Esther Harris, Bertha Aron, Evelyn Kagan, Alyce Guthart. Many thanks to his wonderful caregivers: Jean, Theresa, Alani and Christine.
Contributions may be made in his memory to Temple Torat Yisrael, 1251 Middle Road, East Greenwich, RI.