A descendant of the Steele family of prominent Philadelphia builders, architect Leon Clemmer was born in the city, the son of medical doctor Leon and Mary Steele Clemmer. Clemmer attended the William Penn Charter School and graduated from Philadelphia's Central High School in 1941 before following the example of many members of his family and enrolling in the University of Pennsylvania. Clemmer studied in the Moore School of Electrical Engineering before earning a B. Arch. from the School of Fine Arts in 1951. Clemmer had served in the Pacific in World War II.
Before establishing his own firm, Clemmer worked in a number of Philadelphia offices. While still at Penn, he worked for Wark & Company (1947), Howell Lewis Shay (1948-9), and Samuel I. Oshiver (1950). After completing his degree, Clemmer joined the office of Vincent G. Kling in 1951, where he was made a project manager before his departure in 1956 for Nolen & Swinburne, where he also managed projects. In 1957, Clemmer was made the office manager at Gleeson & Mulrooney. He remained there until 1961, when he formed a partnership with Edward L. Holland which lasted only until 1962, when Clemmer opened his own office in Philadelphia. In 1968, he moved his practice to Jenkintown, PA.
Clemmer joined the national AIA in 1960 and served on its committee on justice in 1981. He has been active in the Philadelphia Chapter, serving as secretary in 1974 and a director from 1976 until 1981. Clemmer was a director of the Pennsylvania Society of Architects from 1980 until 1986, and chaired that organization's public affairs committee from 1984 to 1986. Clemmer has been active in a number of professional organizations as well: he was the president of the Young Engineers for the Engineers' Club of Philadelphia in 1957; and the president of Philadelphia's Carpenters Company in 1987. Clemmer also served as a director of Bartram's Gardens (1990-1994), a director of Historic Rittenhousetown (1986-1990), and as president of the Old York Road Historical Society (1995-1998). A member of the Union League, Clemmer served as a director (1986-1991) and has been involved on a number of committees of that organization. Clemmer was a member of the Abington Township (Montgomery County) planning commission from 1962 until 1980, and of the township's economic development committee from 1994-1998.
Emily T. Cooperman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- Engineers Club
- Pennsylvania Society of Architects
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- Union League of Philadelphia
- Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia
- Old York Road Historical Society
- University of Pennsylvania
- Central High School
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