REMEMBERING LESLEY MICHAEL
by Martha Hough
I have not seen Lesley for probably well over a year… I used to enjoy running into her at Publix, or seeing her out and about in her very cute silver sports car. That always made me smile.
I would have expected that the Lesley I used to paint with might likely be behind the wheel of a more conservative sedan! And then I read her obituary last week and I realized perhaps why I had not seen her recently (she had moved to a nursing home). It made me sad.
Nearly 13 years ago I met Lesley in Jean Shomaker’s kitchen on Sparnel Road. Walter and I had had just moved to The Landings. I believe it was after my first LWGA play day when Jan Curtis – so welcoming and warmly said, “Oh, you are a painter. You need to meet my friend Jean Shomaker.” In typical “Landings fashion” the next thing I knew I was invited to join this little band of painters: Jean, Lesley and Carol Duke. For several years, even after Carol’s death, and until Jean and Dick moved to the Marshes, we met every Wednesday to paint, to chat, to laugh and encourage each other. I learned so much.
Lesley was a very fine watercolorist. Inspired by nature, her work was warm and delicate…not unlike her own persona. Quiet and reserved with a wry wit, she was also strong and resilient. She was a devoted wife (her husband Roger pre-deceased her after nearly 60 years of marriage); a proud mother and a grandmother; like Jean and Carol, she loved golf; she had been a dedicated art teacher for many years before retiring. Experience prepared her to know just how to be thoughtfully direct when offering helpful observations on composition, color….and life.
We got to know one another well during those Wednesday mornings. I was so grateful that each in their own way encouraged my painting, my golf and my role as mother-in-law and grandmother. And, we all loved dogs, flowers and birds. All of a sudden, I had the gift of talented, enthusiastic and wise “big sisters.”
When I read that Lesley’s family had suggested contributions to the LAA in her memory, I was not surprised. She frequently exhibited at the Plantation Club Gallery; a life-long-learner, she enjoyed monthly meetings and I remember that she was also a loyal and willing volunteer.
I know there are many others who will remember Lesley fondly - she will be missed. Shared memories and her paintings become her legacy …keeping her close always.” –
Notes from Betsy Slocum:
I’m sorry I didn’t know Lesley. She must have been a wonderful person to have given so freely of herself to her family and friends. Lesley requested that all donations be given to the LAA in her name. Should anyone wish to send their condolences, you may contact her daughter, Amy Vance, at 618-917-7718.