Culver City Observer -

Lenny Rubien, Decorated Vet and Fixture of Sunkist Park, Passes Away


January 29, 2015

Lenny Rubien

By David W. Myers, Contributing Editor

Leonard "Lenny" Rubien, a decorated Army Air Force veteran of World War II and longtime resident of Culver City' Sunkist Park community, has passed away. He was 94.

Rubien died peacefully in his sleep earlier this month at the Westside's Vista Del Sol Care Center, where he was recuperating from a fall. His family was at his side.

Rubien was born in 1920 in Melrose, Mass., the younger of two boys. His father was a goldsmith and his mother was a homemaker.

The family then moved to Rhode Island, where the younger. Rubien went to school and worked odd-jobs until he enlisted in the Army as a teenager. The Army sent him to Florida, where he honed his skills as an aerospace mechanic on the "big-prop" airplanes that helped turned the tide against the Axis Powers and ultimately led to the U.S. victory in World War II.

Rubien separated from the military in 1946 and later joined the Merchant Marine.

Though he didn't boast about his previous accomplishments in his later years, federal records show that he won several medals-including the Good Conduct Medal for several years of "honorable and faithful service" and the American Victory Medal for those who served between Dec. 7, 1941, and the end of 1946.

Perhaps his most important award, though, was the American Campaign Medal. It was given to only a few thousand men and a handful of women, those who made an important contribution to the Allies' success in our nation's four "Theaters of Operations" that included the battles over the Pacific Ocean under the command of Gen. Chester W. Nimitz and the South Pacific that was commanded by five-star General Douglas MacArthur.

Like many war veterans Rubien returned to the U.S. and decided to settle in Los Angeles. He then met what he called "the most beautiful girl I had ever seen"-Betty, a communications employee at Southern California Edison Co.

They were married in 1958 and purchased a home on MacDonald Street in Sunkist Park in 1977.

Rubien and his wife quickly put deep roots into the community.He became an active member of the community-oriented Culver City Elks Lodge 1917, as well as the American Legion.

He was a fixture at the Elks' weekly meeting and Wednesday night dinner, the latter of which he'd preside over a group of dining colleagues to keep them laughing at his jokes or stories about his hijacks in the military.

Rubien enjoyed bowling, and was also a familiar sight to his Sunkist Park neighbors as he pedaled on his bicycle around the area. The Rubiens also cherished trips to Hawaii and frequent cruises.

Fittingly, Rubien will be buried at sea. A memorial service at the Culver City Elks will be held soon, but a date has yet to be finalized.

Rubien is survived by his wife, Betty; Todd, his son, also of Culver City; Michael Ivans, his son-in-law who lives in Torrance; and granddaughters Alexis and Olivia Ivans. His only daughter, Tina (Rubien) Ivans, passed away last March.


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