Leslie was born in El Paso, Texas, on October 29, 1957. She spent most of her childhood and adolescence with her two older brothers Steve and Mike in upstate New York, where she graduated from Clayton A. Bouton Jr. Sr. High School in Voorheesville in 1975. She spent a year at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins with hopes of becoming a veterinarian, but then took time away from studying to travel the country and find her path in life. After returning to Voorheesville she married and moved with her husband to Florida before settling in Colorado and beginning a career as a labor and delivery nurse. Her first marriage ended in divorce and Leslie eventually married Claude, and together they had a son, Lukas, who was born on May 1, 1988. They later moved to Las Vegas, New Mexico, and eventually wound up in Albuquerque.
Leslie and I married in 1999 and lived together respectively in Sandia Park, Cedar Crest, and Albuquerque until 2010. Leslie had many fond memories of her years and friends in Denver, and when my daughter and son settled here and we became grandparents we had no excuse not to look for work in Colorado. My son Jeff had attended CU Boulder and after receiving his PhD at Brown returned to live in Boulder. My daughter Alison came to Denver from Albuquerque to attend Denver University and settled here, married, and eventually had two daughters. Leslie had been working for the Veterans Administration in Albuquerque as a health promotion and disease prevention nurse for several years and had no trouble transferring to the VA in Denver. I had made contacts in the HMO research network through work I had done with Lovelace Health Plan in Albuquerque so I was able to get a job as a project manager with the Institute for Health Research at Kaiser Permanente Colorado. Not too long after we settled here Lukas decided to make Denver his home, too, after graduating from the University of New Mexico. Our lives here could not have been better until Leslie abruptly developed field of vision symptoms that were quickly diagnosed as a glioblastoma multiforme (an as yet incurable form of brain cancer). The diagnosis was made in January of 2014, and she died on March 31, 2015.
As time allows I will write more about Leslie’s many interests and talents. For now I will mention her passion for wellness through diet and exercise. She loved running and cycling. When I first met her she would run whenever she could and supplement that with a little mountain biking. When a little knee pain starting creeping in she bought a road bike and that became her passion, although she continued to run and completed two marathons and a handful of sprint triathlons in the years that I knew her (but she was never very comfortable with open-water swimming). She was also proud to be a very competent snowboarder, and had been an avid telemark skier in her younger days. In the time I knew her she was careful to avoid sugar and fat in her diet, and early on eliminated beef and pork from her meals. Later she gave up poultry, and eventually even eliminated fish. She also loved singing and playing music on the piano and mandolin. We had a lot of fun playing together, but she became self-conscious when I got recording equipment and started capturing our performances. She never thought we sounded very good, and became reluctant to sing in front of others after hearing herself recorded. I still love hearing her recorded voice, and think she sounds great, especially compared to my pitchy and frog-like singing.