Leo (Ari) Marks was born in Sydney Australia to second generation Australians, originally from Poland.
Leo married Judy Goodman in 1953, and they became involved in the Sydney North Shore Jewish community. Leo founded the Jewish Kindergarten at the North Shore Synagogue and became active on the synagogue board. He had a vision: A Jewish Day School. On the board, he promoted and initiated the building that would house the Jewish Day School for the children of the North Shore. He pushed the synagogue board to comply with this dream, filed for building plans, sought funding, rallied the parents and worked endlessly until his vision was realized.
He was the first chairman of the pre-school of Masada College which opened in September 1966. Together with his friends and Fred Ehrlich, who became the first president of the growing school in 1967, introduced innovative educational methods which had not yet become common-place in the regular educational stream. His four children began their schooling at Masada College.
In 1968, Leo and Judy visited Israel for the first time. His extended family had always been supporters of Israel, however, when they returned from this trip, something had changed within him. He had been infected with the bug “The State of Israel”.
Leo was an enthusiastic Zionist and realized that for him, to be a Zionist meant to live in Israel and decided to move with his family to Israel, to make Aliyah. His friends said he was crazy to leave his affluent life. However, Leo was determined and courageous and in 1972, together with Judy and their four children they moved to Israel and settled in Moshav Avichail, growing citrus fruit.
He was an example of a man who dreamed, visualized and set into motion what he believed the right path. He was a nonconformist and had independent opinions and ideas about a variety of topics and issues.
Leo also had a unique opinion regarding education and the bringing up of kids. He would preach to enable kids to be independent and to allow them to get along by their own steam with little parent involvement. He believed that “falling and getting up” was an important part of anyone’s education, not only physically, but also mentally.
Leo was forever expanding his knowledge, was an enthusiastic reader, understood political and historic processes, social economics, and believed in ecological solutions and efficiency.
Leo is survived by his wife of 62 years, Judy, 4 children, 14 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren, so far.