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Cheryl Lynne Leslie, 76, of Broomfield, Colorado, passed away on October 8, 2023, after a valiant battle with Glioblastoma. Cheryl loved life and frequently affirmed, “We’ll beat this thing so that I may live and love my family and we’ll help find a cure”. Cheryl was embraced by her loving husband and children at the time she passed: 4:44 p.m. – Angel’s Wings.
Cheryl was born in Pittsburgh, PA on August 13, 1947, to June and Joseph Lees of Berea, Ohio. After graduating from Berea High School, Cheryl graduated from Monticello College in Alton, Ill., and then from Baldwin-Wallace University in Berea, OH, where she met her husband of 54 years, Bruce Leslie. They were married in Berea on June 14, 1969, and immediately moved to Norfolk VA as Bruce served as a naval officer on the USS Pocono. Upon discharge from the Navy, Cheryl and Bruce graduated from Sam Houston University in Huntsville, TX, in 1972, Cheryl earning a master’s degree in art education.
Family was Cheryl’s love and joy. Sean was born in Portsmouth, VA in 1970, Kirsten in Austin, TX in 1973, and Adam in Bremerton, WA in 1978. Cheryl’s passion for her family continued as eight grandchildren blessed her life. Christopher, Caden, and Gracyn - Kirsten, and Chris Keating’s children; Connor and Ryan Leslie - Sean, and Amy’s children; and Avery, and twins Reese and Easton Leslie - Adam and Alexis’ children. Cheryl’s parents passed in their 90s and, sadly, Cheryl’s younger sister, JoAnn, died of cancer last year. JoAnn’s husband, Lee, and niece Lauren and Neil, and their two children, Quinn and Asher, have been as dear to Cheryl as her own children.
Cheryl’s love of art and teaching was expressed through her service as a public-school art teacher in Huntsville, TX, in 1973, and later in Chicago Heights, IL. In 1983. Cheryl was the first Assistant Director of the new Community Education program in Austin in 1973 - 76. In Chicago, Cheryl was Assistant Store Manager of Marshall Fields, then was recruited to work for IBM. Cheryl was also an entrepreneur, establishing an interior design business in Bremerton. Cheryl also established a business as an architectural illustrator after returning to college, earning an architectural illustration degree at Onondaga Community College, in 1990, and taking advanced courses at Harvard University.
Cheryl volunteered on numerous boards. Her leadership always contributed to improving the organization, operations, and growth of the boards, clubs, and organizations she served, and her leadership was frequently recognized. Her work in Syracuse on the St. Camillus Hospital Board, the Syracuse Arts Council, the Syracuse Symphony, and design work for the Skaneateles Creamery Project between 1984 and 1996, helped each organization prosper. In San Antonio, Cheryl’s service on the Communities in Schools Board, between 2006 and 2018, was recognized by several Leadership Awards, including Recognition of Appreciation and Gratitude by Congressman Pete Gallego. In retirement from 2018 until her death, Cheryl actively served as President of the Anthem Ranch Gourmet Club, established the Texas Club, and was a member of the Bible and Book clubs. Cheryl designed logos for the Garden, Gourmet, and Theatre Clubs in which she acted and designed sets. She even served as campaign manager in 2001, helping Bruce become elected to the Broomfield City Council.
Cheryl loved people, and a common theme throughout her life is that Cheryl was quick to forgive. Cheryl was unafraid to challenge organizational waste and ineffectiveness and those comfortable with the status quo. Cheryl always stood up to those resisting necessary change, to bullies in the workplace, and to those whose own agenda conflicted with the need to improve. Cheryl’s collaborative leadership developed partnerships and coalitions with those who also saw the need for accountability and change and, by creating teams, the organizations improved.
Cheryl was a creative soul and had a quick, intelligent sense of humor. She loved to knit, draw, paint, and cook. Her organizational skills were always applauded. Cheryl saw a solution to challenges and problems when others were lost in the weeds. Cheryl's hobbies included walking, traveling, especially with close friends, gardening, and games; Cheryl was an avid reader. In 1965, Cheryl was crowned Miss Berea. She was a beauty queen because of the encouragement of her family and friends, but, as she often said, Cheryl was not one to flaunt her physical attributes, so never competed in other beauty pageants. Cheryl’s life philosophy, basic and simple, was to be known as a good person. She had a strong moral code, a belief in the goodness of people, a deep love for her family, and a passion to make the world a better place. Cheryl’s leadership, acts of kindness, and devotion to her family and friends, have left a legacy of love, kindness, empathy, and giving. Cheryl fought her cancer, which struck so suddenly and without warning, and to her last moments, did all she could to love and serve her family and friends.
Cheryl and Bruce renewed their marriage vows – twice – on Santorini in March 2018 during a cruise with their best friends, Laurie and Jeff Bricker. They finally had the “honeymoon” they could never have because of Bruce’s naval service.
A Celebration of Cheryl’s Life will be held at the Anthem Ranch Lodge, 16151 Lowell Blvd. Broomfield, CO 80023, on December 27, 2023, at 1 p.m. We are gathering testimonials and photos to display, which should be sent to: email@example.com.
Contributions in Cheryl’s name to the Dana Farber Institute in Boston to support Glioblastoma research through the Pan-Mass Challenge are appreciated.
Finally, please share your memories of Cheryl at www.inmemoriamservices.com.