Remembering Neighborhood Druggist-Dave LeBlang - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the September 2001 Juniper Berry Magazine

Remembering Neighborhood Druggist-Dave LeBlang

Dave Leblang

On the corner of 78th Street and 67th Drive in Middle Village there is a Laundromat. On any given day, you can see many people coming in and out, hefting their laundry to and from their homes. It is a busy neighborhood store that provides services to the local residents.

If we turn back time to the mid 1920's, we can still see this corner store, busy with people bustling in and out. But the store is now a pharmacy – LeBlang's Pharmacy – and if you need medicine because your child is sick, you go in and see Dave LeBlang, Middle Village's pharmacist.

David LeBlang was born in 1905. His family moved to Middle Village in 1912 into the house that is now 78-36 67th drive. Back then, it used to be called Lafayette Street. David began attending Public School 87 on 80th Street in second grade that year. He graduated in 1919 and went on to Newtown High School. After high school, he attended the Columbia College of Pharmacy and graduated in 1925. Unfortunately, when Dave was 23, his father passed away and Dave became the head of the family. He did this without complaint, helping his family any way he could. He worked for Riffman's Pharmacy for 4 years, then bought the business and renamed it LeBlang's Pharmacy. The store was located at 67-69 78th Street, right on the corner of 67th Drive and 78th street. He ran the store, working long hours and helping when he could. He gave the local kids lollipops and made them laugh.

At times, he was called up to act as a "doctor", taking a speck of dust out of a child's eye, even getting out of bed to retrieve medicine from his store in the middle of the night for a sick child. People went to him for advice or just to talk.

In 1930, Dave married Etta. They were married for 60 years and had three sons; the late Dr. Stanley LeBlang, Allan LeBlang who lives in Kew Gardens Hills and Douglas LeBlang of Middle Village. The LeBlang family will be celebrating 90 years of being Middle Village-ites next year.

Dave operated his business for 50 years. When he retired at age 70, he didn't stop his community service. He spent the next 15 years delivering up to 50 Meals on Wheels per day, rain or shine. In the mid 1980's, he received the Borough President's Award for Volunteerism.

Again, once Dave retired, he took up jogging and continued to jog for 22 years. He usually jogged three miles a day.

While his beloved Etta was ill, Dave took care of her, giving her cortisone injections to ease her pain, and providing love, encouragement and support.

In 1975, Dave helped organize the original Meals on Wheels program run out of the Middle Village Adult Center. The building where the adult center is on 75th Street in Middle Village was originally known as the Hebrew Institute and was founded by Dave's Father, Abraham LeBlang, and others, in 1919. It is fitting the Dave volunteered his time to the Meals on Wheels program after his retirement.

Dave was religious, too. He participated in services and often led services at the Jewish Center of Forest Hills West and the Wayne Street Schul. He was honored in 1997 by the Knights of Pythias for his 50 years of membership.

Dave LeBlang passed away on October 30, 1998. He was a family man, an honorable, hardworking person who contributed to his fellow man in a variety of ways. He was loved by his family and friends and will always be remembered fondly by those he helped throughout his lifetime.