Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Most Chicagoans are familiar with the story of Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, Jr.  They were two brilliant and wealthy young men who set out to commit “the perfect crime” in 1924 by kidnapping and murdering young Bobby Franks.  They did not commit the perfect crime – they made some foolish mistakes and were soon caught, and after a sensational trial sentenced to life imprisonment.   If you are not familiar with the story, there is a good synopsis in Wikipedia:

Few realize that there are more people who suffer when a heinous crime is committed than the victim himself.  The families of the victims suffer, of course, but few ever think about the families of the perpetrators who also are victims “by association.”  This came to my mind several weeks ago when I was driving through Rosehill Cemetery and came upon an imposing monument that said “LEOPOLD” and the flat gravestone labeled “Father - Nathan F. Leopold, 1860-1929”.  Mercifully, Nathan Jr.’s mother died in 1921 before the crime was committed but Nathan Sr’s obituary from the Tribune tells a sad tale of this forgotten victim:


Nathan F. Leopold, Sr., wealthy financier died last night at the Michael Reese Hospital.  He was operated on ten days ago by Dr. Solomon Strauss and his condition had been reported improving until yesterday afternoon.  He had been in the lake transportation business since 1876, but retired recently.

Mr. Leopold’s life was saddened in 1925 in the discovery that his son, Nathan F. Leopold, Jr., had killed little Bobby Franks, a crime to which young Leopold and Richard Loeb pleaded guilty.

Nathan Leopold, Sr., was a respected and well liked business man.  He was born in Eagle River, Mich., on July 2, 1860, and came to Chicago with his parents in 1867.  He married Florence G. Foreman in 1892 and their life together was happy until her death in 1921.

After the trouble over his son Mr. Leopold and his two other sons, Foreman and Samuel, moved from the old home at 4754 Greenwood Avenue.  In 1927 Mr. Leopold married Mrs. Daisy K. Hahn of Los Angeles and after a wedding trip they resided at 420 Roscoe Street.

During the last winter the Leopolds were in California.  Soon after their return last month Mr. Leopold became ill and an operation was deemed necessary.  Dr. Strauss said the ailment was something similar to gallstones.  Chicago Daily Tribune – April 5, 1929

In a strange twist of fate, the family of Richard Loeb, the family of Nathan Leopold, Jr. and Bobby Franks and his family are all interred in Rosehill Cemetery.   May they rest in peace.

Nathan Freudenthal Leopold, Sr

Nathan Freudenthal Leopold, Sr

Nathan Freudenthal Leopold, Sr

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