Leslie E. Farragher
Born 7 December, 1952
Leslie Farragher, a Life Lived with Love Leslie Ellen Farragher was born on December 7th 1952 in Newton, Massachusetts. She grew up in Waltham in an Italian-American family and was very close to her elder relatives including her Noni (grandmother) and great aunties. Her sister Carla was born in 1960. Leslie loved her little sister very much and the two developed a life-long bond. Ever the supportive and caring elder sister, she would help Carla make math flashcards to study with. Math was one of Leslie’s strong suits. In the words of her home state, Leslie was ‘wicked smaht’. Though somewhat shy throughout her youth she had a tremendous amount of curiosity, especially for the mysteries of the universe. She prided herself on being one of the original Treki’s who was loyal to the show when Star Trek first aired. Perhaps she inherited her love for science fiction from her mother, Barbara Farragher. She also dreamt of becoming an astronaut and herself going to space someday. Leslie, though soft-spoken at times, had a mischievous side and managed to convince her sister that she was an alien from outer space and her spaceship was buried in the backyard. Though certainly not an alien, Leslie was a unique woman who marched to the beat of her own drum throughout her life. Though Leslie never actually obtained a driver’s license, she one-upped the rest of society and learned to fly airplanes. Perhaps it was a drive to get closer to the stars. But regardless of the motivation, Leslie was part of the civil air patrol as a teenager and successfully completed her solo flight. When it came time to attend college, Leslie wanted to follow in the footsteps of others in her family, including her groundbreaking mother, and become an engineer. She attended Columbia university, even when the number of women in the class was quite small. While at college, she met the love of her life Brian Ferguson. The first time Brian saw beautiful brunette Leslie walk into the student lounge he immediately was drawn to her. She however thought he looked like ZZ-top, a look which she did not immediately find attractive. However, over time they became friends, and Brian also trimmed his beard. After college they started dating and got married a few years later on November 24, 1979. Their neighborhood in NYC was very dangerous in the 1980s, and she was not crazy about spending her life in New York. But over time she came to love the village-like area, with all its parks and playgrounds. Later having a daughter would encourage her to get out and enjoy its many possibilities. Since moving to NY in 1970, she lost most of her classic Boston accent. Her mother had always said that she sounded like a “Maine potato farmer”. However, her love for her home state remained. After her mother moved to South Wellfleet (Cape Cod) she and Brian fell in love with the peninsula, especially their favorite place on earth, Mayo Beach. Leslie had a love for nature, the powerful forces of storms and the ocean. She loved strolling the beaches and discovering marine critters. She was known to save a few horseshoe crabs and other creatures in her day, always a friend to the animals of this world. She also learned to ride horses in NYC. She enjoyed riding through Central Park with her sister Carla when she visited. While she did not stay in engineering long, as she discovered it was not fulfilling to her, she got a job at Columbia university. She held this position for many years. In her young married life, she accompanied Brian to Puerto Rico where he was doing field work. A cat that they named Gatita seemingly adopted them while they were there and they brought her back to their apartment in NY, where they gave her and her kittens a wonderful life. Leslie always had an especially profound bond with cats, particularly Gatita. She saved multiple stray cats from the elements. There was always room in her heart for another (though perhaps not as much room in her small NY apartment). She also played an instrumental role in facilitating research for one of her husband’s books on anthropology. They truly were a great team. At the late age of 42, after years of trying, her and Brian had their only daughter, Elise. And so, began the next chapter of Leslie’s life. She was an outstanding mother. She always went the extra mile for her daughter. She was a famed stocking stuffer at Christmas time. She also developed a passion for children’s books, amassing a small library for her daughter. She loved the illustrations as well as wholesome messaging and culturally diverse stories. She herself was quite an artist. Though she rarely made art, she was very skilled and creative. She passed down knowledge of textile arts which she had learned from the elder generations of her family to her daughter. She always did all she could to make sure everyone in her family was happy. And most importantly, she loved them fiercely. As her daughter grew older and Leslie had more free time, she found her real calling in volunteering at the ASPCA. There she gradually worked her way up through the ranks of the volunteers and became an integral part of the community. She became a Cat Captain and trained a generation of caregivers. She never tired of her work even though she was once mauled by a very damaged cat (her specialty), and once got ringworm. She gave the sick kittens that she looked after so much care and love and was extremely dedicated to their well-being. She made a difference in countless kitty lives and won multiple well-deserved awards from the ASPCA for her work. She volunteered over 4,000 hours since she joined the program in 2012. She had other hobbies as well. Though she did not cook much she was the baker of the family and also made a mean Italian meatball in her omnivorous days. She eventually became a devout vegetarian as part of her commitment to the well-being of animals. She was infinitely curious and was an avid reader. The books she read were often on themes such as animal behavior, science and the natural world, and history, especially American revolutionary history. She was a bastion of knowledge about these and other topics. She developed an interest in photography in her later life. She often would bring the camera along on strolls and take lovely pictures of nature. She never forgot to stop and pet the fuzzy little backs of bumblebees as they buzzed around the flowers, her version of stopping to smell the roses. Leslie suddenly fell ill in 2020 with brain cancer. Though no one could have predicted this tragedy she handled it with incredible strength and grace. 14 months later she passed away peacefully in her sleep, about 1:00 a.m. on January 23. She is at peace now, but will be missed terribly. Through her endless love, she touched the lives of so many, and those who knew her will always hold tremendous love for her in their hearts.See more See Less
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In Memory Of
Leslie E. Farragher
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