Cardiologist Laurence “Lanny” Lesser, the father of Congregation Bet Haverim Rabbi Joshua Lesser, died at home in Snellville on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 72.
Lesser was the first board-certified cardiologist in Gwinnett County, helped open Snellville’s first hospital, the Gwinnett Community Hospital, in 1979, and co-founded the Gwinnett Community Clinic in 1989. With volunteer physicians, nurses and pharmacists, GCC provided primary care services to people without health insurance for 26 years.
Lesser for a quarter-century served as a volunteer physician at Camp Big Heart, an overnight camp in Fort Valley for people with special needs, sponsored by the Civitan Club of Georgia.
He was honored in 2016 with the creation of the Laurence Martin Lesser, MD Graduate Medical Education Endowment at Gwinnett Medical Center.
In addition to Rabbi Lesser, survivors include his wife, Sandra, and his daughter, Mishele Elizabeth Lesser.
Lesser is at least the third father of an Atlanta rabbi to die this summer. Sidney Kunis, the father of Congregation Shaarei Shamayim Rabbi Mark Hillel Kunis, died June 29. James Filson, the father of The Temple Rabbi Loren Filson Lapidus, died July 4.