Funeral Details - Chicago Jewish Funerals

Funeral Details


Funeral Details

Mike S. Leff


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Memorial Contributions

World Bicycle Relief
Attn: Development
1000 West Fulton Market, 4th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60607
The Old Town School of Folk Music
4544 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60625
Chicago Canine Rescue
5272 North Elston Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60630


Michael S. Leff, age 58.
Beloved husband of Hollis Russinof. Loving father of Sophie Leff and Emma Leff. Adored son of Shirley and the late Marvin Leff. Dear brother of Karen (William) Cole and Linda (Steve) Goldstein. Cherished uncle of Mackenzie Cole, William Cole, Benjamin Cole and the late Curtis Cole and Lynsey Goldstein and Daniel Goldstein. Caring brother-in-law of Anne (Tony Saunders) Russinof.

Our husband and dad, Mike Leff, suffered a heart attack on the evening of July 20th, and passed away comfortably on the afternoon of the 21st. He felt no pain, was surrounded by family, and spent his last moments listening to the Grateful Dead. Anyone who spent time with Mike knew how he loved keeping us all laughing, drinking good beer, and going for long bike rides. He had a wry sense of humor, was whip smart, and impossibly social.

What we most want right now is for all our loved ones to stay safe and healthy where they are. For that reason, we are asking that friends and family who wish to participate in services do so virtually. A small service will take place at 1 pm CST on Friday, July 22, and will be available to stream.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to World Bicycle Relief:, The Old Town School of Folk Music:, or Chicago Canine Rescue: To attend the funeral live stream, please visit our website. Arrangements by Chicago Jewish Funerals - Skokie Chapel, 847.229.8822,


We encourage you to share your personal
condolences and stories of Mike S. Leff below and
we will share them with the family.

Francie Habash

Hollis, I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family. I will have to listen to some grateful dead on my ride home from work. Miss you, Francie

Dan Curtin

This is so unfair. Mike was such a good guy and Jerry and I loved having Mike as our neighbor. We need more Mikes in this world. Take comfort in the great memories you shared as a family and know that I am thinking of you at this difficult time.

Marianne Lau

Dear Hollis, Sophie and Emma,

My first memory of Mike was Freshman year at WashU when he and a bunch of other future friends were all in Mike's room listening to Grateful Dead on his stereo. They were laughing and having such a great time. I was a fish out of water, but this group of people made me feel so welcomed. More recently, he gathered us for Zoom reunions; more of the same laughter, wit and fun. After every reunion, I think how lucky I am to have such brilliant friends. We will all miss him dearly.

with a million long-distance hugs...

Marianne Lau ("Lauchik")

Alan Mueller

Please accept my sympathy on your loss. Mike and I served together on the RMIA board.

Joel Grossman

I heard this morning of Mike's passing and it is a terrible loss. When I saw him late last year, he said things'in passing, he was never a lecturer but someone that made you laugh and reset'that reminded me of what's truly important in life. I left that conversation renewed. I loved talking books with him in our book-clubs-of-two and exchanging next book recommendations. He taught me many, many things and I will miss him dearly. Hollis, Sophie and Emma, I am so sorry for your loss.

Rich Hellerman

Too many memories to share from my 40 years of knowing and loving Mike. This loss is immeasurable. Let's please be there for each other.

Kevin Huelster

12 days apart in age. Best of friends from literally the first week of college in 1980. My skiing buddy. My music sole mate. Families sharing vacations. Hollis, Kat, Emma, and Sophie so totally on the same page on so many issues and interests. Appreciate, respect, and aspire to the talents involved with good food and drink. Love of nature and the city. Reading. Mike's wit and DECISION making!, Embrace of culture, So many fun times and great memoriesâ?¦but I wasn't done with those yet. The joy of our 53er group dynamics especially with Mike. We felt in person most recently on zoom calls that he organized. I'm grateful for that. I will miss him so much. Love to Hollis, Sophie, and Emma and the Leff extended family and all his friends.

Joey Nachinson

My deepest condolences to the Leff family. I personally am deeply shaken by this loss and I know many of his friends, family, and colleagues are as well. I knew Mike from Cognetik, he was my Project Manager, and in just two short years working together I never met a man that was so clearly a tremendous father, husband and all around great person.

Though we were decades apart in age Mike was someone I always looked up to, I admired his calming voice in an often hostile climate, and felt he truly cared about the people he worked with. His presence made me feel at ease every single day. Without him I feel lost already.

To Sopie, Emma, and Hollis, I feel your pain, but will always remember your husband and father for who he truly was, a genuine man with a big heart, one who touched many lives and made everyone smile. He will be missed.

Jeanette Kemble

To Hollis, Emma, & Sophie. I know you know how much your husband & Dad will be missed. I enjoyed our regular visits and he was always so proud to share stories of family life with his girls. We had a lot of laughs together and I appreciated his quiet (yet witty) sense of humor. Above all he was one of the kindest people I have known. This is a tragic loss for all who knew him. Gone way to soon, let's be sure to cherish the memories of him to help cope with the sadness of his passing.

Cousin Bonnie and Michael Schonberg

Hollis, Emma and Sophie. So very sorry....words do not express the pain of a loss. our thoughts are with you.

Bonnie and Michael

Cousin Bonnie and Michael Schonberg

Hollis, Emma and Sophie. So very sorry....words do not express the pain of a loss. our thoughts are with you.

Bonnie and Michael

Mathieu Sussman

I was very saddened to hear this news. I worked with Mike at Roundarch/Isobar. We had lunch together on a regular basis. Mike was a wonderful human being. We had fun talking about our girls, ( I have a 21yo daughter). He was very proud of you two. We talked about many things but probably the most interesting was that he's the person that turned me on to Game of Thrones when it came out on HBO. I ended up reading the whole series of books that summer. Mike touched my life and made it better and for that I am grateful. My sincerest condolences and may his memory be eternal.

Jen Lesinak

My heart breaks for you and your family. I am so so sorry your loss. I had the pleasure of working with Mike at McDonald's for the last couple of years. My last interaction with him is exactly how I will remember him. He was thanking me for helping out with something, something we both have been working hard on fixing for a while. Mike was always so conscious of showing appreciation of others, even when he was just as integral to the outcome. And he never hesitated to step up and help his teammates when they needed it. He was one of my favorite people to work with and I will miss him greatly.

Rudy Loo

We really got to know each other at Roundarch/Isobar on the Scott White project in Texas. We had a many laughs and the team got really close. We stayed in touch even after the project ended. I knew instantly that Mike and I would become friends. We bonded over music, food and hanging out. We went to go see jazz at Old Town or the Green Mill. One funny memory, he gave a batch of brownies as a thank you for working over the weekend. I thought he had a terrific snort laugh and had a funny way of saying 'oh dude�. He was very thoughtful when I lost my dad and I appreciate him telling me "Godspeed" when I needed to go to CA asap. He was a beautiful soul and I'm so blessed to have had him in my life. I miss him. I am tremendously sorry for your loss.

Frank Ryan

I also met Mike in Fall of 80 at Wash. U. Mike was this exotic guy, for this suburban New Yorker, from cowboy country. He had exotic tastes in music. He cared about the lighting in his dorm room, no fluorescent lights! Took cool pictures. We struggled together doing Physics problem sets. Mike was smart!

Mike had a great laugh. He loved to laugh, was usually the first to laugh, laughed often. That's how I'll always think of Mike.

Chris Peters

Mike and I worked together at McDonald's for the last 3+ years. Mike was always a beacon of calmness even during the most difficult times. He has been such a selfless and caring friend to me over the years, always willing to lend his ear and share such grounded advice. It kills me knowing I'll never have the chance to walk down the street with Mike to La Columbe for a midday coffee break or to go up to the 9th floor at McDonald's for Thursday happy hour to talk about politics, music or life in general.

My heart goes out to his family and everyone Mike touched, he was a special person, that we were all lucky to know. Mike touched us all, and I can't think of a better way to carry on his memory than to remind myself each day to model the calmness and caring that Mike put out into the world.

Brian Gemmell

My deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mike Leff. I worked with Mike at McDonald's, but we were mostly on separate projects so we only interacted a little. However, even in the brief time I knew him, I could immediately understand how everyone looked up to him. He was a kind soul, had a great demeanor and was a lot of fun to be around. He also kind of watched over the team and had a lot of wisdom to share that made everyone that much stronger. I wish I could have gotten to know him better, but will most remember the good times and great discussions he had with us, sometimes over a great craft beer. RIP Mike.

Kiran Gopinath

Mike... I still hear your laugh ringing in my ears.. The smiles.. the laughs.. the snorts.. :)... Knowing and working with you was a pleasure.. Your passion for beer, wine, the stories of your trips to Europe, and all the concerts.. all the concerts!!!... I fondly fondly remember them all..

To his wife, daughters and 4 legged baby.. His absence will be felt.. But his memories will forever forever remain..

Hollis I have a few pictures of Mike that I would like to share. Please let me know which email you would like me to send it to..

Pri Chatterjee

Mike, we only knew each other via our projects at McDonald's but your profound presence was very hard to ignore. Always calm and gentle, always kind, despite the circumstance. What a lesson in living in this world. I imagine you walking across the lanes of the 4th floor at MHQ and feel tremendously sad to know I won't see that again. Your last interaction with me was so kind, you came to answer a question I'd asked via email, talking it out with me in detail and leaving with, "just let me know if you want to talk more". These memories remind me that its not very important what jobs we do, it's infintely more important how we are "being" in whatever we do. Thank you Mike for the great lessons for a rather distant colleague, I can only imagine the impact you had on your friends and loved ones. Rest in peace.

Judy Nathan

I will miss seeing his smiling face volunteering at OTS. RIP, you were taken too soon. Thinking of all mourning him.

Ed Van Gorder

Holly, I am so very sorry for your loss and how unexpectedly it happened. Clearly you have a wonderful family and wonderful memories. You and yours are in my thoughts.

Bill Walsh

My condolences to the Leff family. I worked with Mike at McDonald's. I live in San Francisco and every time I would visit McD HQ he was so welcoming and excited to see me. He was also that calming voice as others have mentioned. I'll miss collaborating with him. He's a great guy.
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