Leon Joseph Koerner
Leon Joseph Koerner, lumberman, philanthropist (b at Nový Hrozenkov, Austria-Hungary [Czechoslovakia] 24 May 1892; d at Vancouver 26 Sept 1972). Born into a prominent Austro-Hungarian lumbering family, Koerner was a founder of the European Timber Exporters Convention and once served as Czechoslovakia's timber controller. After the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in 1938, Koerner, who was of mixed Slav and Jewish ancestry, came to Vancouver where 3 brothers joined him.
In 1939 he bought a defunct lumber mill in New Westminster. Applying curing techniques developed in Europe and using his British trade connections, his Alaska Pine Co sold hemlock, hitherto a waste wood in BC, as Alaska Pine. In 1955 he and his wife established the Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation which continues to provide financial aid for higher education, cultural and creative arts, and public welfare (seeFOUNDATIONS). BC was a special beneficiary of Koerner's philanthropy.