OBITUARY

Leslie Cole LeComte

October 9, 1956May 9, 2018

Leslie Elizabeth LeComte, age 61, of Bloomington, passed away Wednesday evening at the IU Health University Hospital in Indianapolis. Born October 9, 1956 in Lakeland, FL, she was the daughter of Edward Lawford Cole and Audrey Elizabeth DeVann Cole. Leslie earned her B.S. in Business Administration from Indiana Institute of Technology and had completed multiple graduate certificates in fundraising and non-profit administration from the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business. Recently retired from leadership positions at My Sister’s Closet and Middle Way House, she had formerly worked as Vice President of Site Operations for Xerox State and Local Solutions in Indianapolis. She enjoyed gardening, fine art, interior decorating, and home renovation. She was an avid reader of mystery novels and loved spending time at the ocean. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Bloomington. Family was first with Leslie, and she was an incredibly loving wife, mother and grandmother. She is survived by: her loving husband, Richard Nash, of Bloomington; two dear daughters and their spouses, Ashley (Patrick McWilliams) LeComte-McWilliams, of Manassas, Virginia; and Carlyce (Jonathan) Fitch, of Sterling, Virginia; one step-daughter and her spouse, Carolyn (Jason Loughnane) Nash, of Yangon, Myanmar; and multiple grandchildren: Selena, Quinn, Owen, Jackson, Madeleine, Tyler, and two more expected later this year. Leslie was preceded in death by her parents. A memorial service will be held in July at the First Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, the family asks memorial contributions be given to Middle Way House, My Sister’s Closet or to the Myanmar Center for Civic Leadership (Global Giving).

Services

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REMEMBERING

Leslie Cole LeComte

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Ladi Terry

July 11, 2018

Leslie was a best friend in every sense of the word! She was always available to help me with my professional life and we joined forces on many endeavors, enjoying the diversity of our thinking and understanding of so many issues!

We were each other’s sounding board and cheerleading sections. And there was always another adventure around the corner like a Mystery Dinner Theater which allowed us to play dress-up in vintage and just have fun.

I have never met a stronger or more courageous woman who took her ailments in stride and kept on living life! She was an inspiration to me and always will be!

So my heart is truly broken that this wonderful woman with so much to offer the world has been called from our midst! But I know her strong spirit and her many acts of selflessness and kindness will continue to impact those of us lucky enough to know her!

Ladi Terry

Ladi Terry

July 10, 2018

Leslie was a best friend in every sense of the word! She was always available to help me with my professional life and we joined forces on many endeavors, enjoying the diversity of our thinking and understanding of so many issues!

We were each other’s sounding board and cheerleading sections. And there was always another adventure around the corner like a Mystery Dinner Theater which allowed us to play dress-up in vintage and just have fun.

I have never met a stronger or more courageous woman who took her ailments in stride and kept on living life! She was an inspiration to me and always will be!

So my heart is truly broken that this wonderful woman with so much to offer the world has been called from our midst! But I know her strong spirit and her many acts of selflessness and kindness will continue to impact those of us lucky enough to know her!

Ladi Terry

Stephen Watt

May 17, 2018

My wife Nonie and I are deeply saddened and send all our very best wishes to Leslie's family. We shared lots of good times and laughs with Leslie and Richard--but not nearly enough.

As scholars who work with words, we have learned to respect their power--and, at times, their inadequacy. This is one of those latter times.

Again, all best wishes and love,
Stephen Watt

Richard Nash

May 15, 2018

More than sixty years ago, a dour Scotsman and a passionate model fell very much in love, and their love conceived Leslie Elizabeth Cole. It was considerably later that she entered my life, and altered it profoundly for the better.
When I met Leslie for the first time, I was feeling pretty raw and vulnerable. Colt-shy, I needed to be loved no more than I needed to be wary. From her mother she had learned to love, and from her father she had learned how to meet wariness with infinite patience. I like to think that we were perfect for each other, though all that I am absolutely confident of is that she was perfect for me.
She was running at the time, quite literally, with a wolf. Saski reveled in her status as Beta Female, utterly devoted to her Alpha, and fiercely protective. At our first meeting, Leslie gave her a beef knuckle to occupy her while the two humans chatted; and she happily consumed it all, grinding it to splintered shards, while giving me continuous side-eye.
But Saski would follow the lead of her Alpha anywhere; and when Leslie accepted me, Saski did as well. And in spite of my dubious ethnicity—a blend of equine and feline—the canine community took me into their wolfpack.
And so it was, that in middle age, having published a book about (among other things) feral children raised by wolves, I found myself in the surreal position of Romulus and Remus, Mowgli, et. al. And in the long literary tradition of such myth and fantasy, I healed and grew stronger as I learned the lessons of the pack.

Richard Nash

May 15, 2018

One of the fundamental lessons of the pack is the lesson of pack love: that to love one is to love all. It is a vitally important lesson that wolves learn more easily than humans, who often struggle to master it; and too often, we manage only a small withered form of it, by drawing the lines of our pack more tightly closed, so that we can restrict our pack love to a manageable scale. No human I know was ever more willing and more able than Leslie to love like a wolf. The love was always strongest and most committed with her immediate pack, but she lived her whole life believing that to love one was to love all.
Wolves are nomads who range widely, and their howls allow them to remain in contact even when widely separated; and then they reconnect and return to den together. Early in our relationship, both Leslie and I would range separately over far-flung territories, but we would den together in Indianapolis. Eventually, however, it was Saski who ranged away from Indiana, returning to Northern Virginia to den again with Ashley and to help raise Selena.
In exchange, Leslie took in from Carly a tabby cat named Toby who had, as a kitten, been raised—sometimes quite literally—by Saski. At about the same time, for various reasons, I took in from my daughter, two young Tuxedos (Paxil and Remedios the Beautiful) who had been abandoned on the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn, and from my father, a feral Maine Coon (Shiva); and when the dust was settled, we were no longer a wolfpack, but a cat clowder, happily domesticated into our purring contented commingled lives, though several of us remained true to our feral roots.

Richard Nash

May 15, 2018

Leslie gloried in this new configuration and would nest happily, surrounded by her brood, occasionally laughing in mock-dread at the prospect of becoming a “crazy cat lady.” Shiva was always the most aloof, and most clearly identified with me as the most tolerable of quasi-human companions, but even he would—especially late in life—reach out to Leslie with just a claw to insist on a moment’s attention before returning to his solitude.
She loved and doted on Paxil (a peacemaker) who she often termed her favorite, even though each of them was allergic to the other. It is easy to know why, for bumbling and prone to sneezing as he was (and is) Paxil is—like Leslie—endlessly loving and committed to finding harmonious union.
But it was Toby—with whom she had once had a more volatile, love/hate relation—with whom she bonded most deeply and profoundly. He was a tomcat of immense proportions; and it seemed that as he grew older and larger, he also grew increasingly more attached to Leslie; and she spent many happy evenings reading with this massive orange cat sprawled across her. She would sometimes look up and marvel “I’ve really grown to love this old cat.”
Death came first for Shiva, a slow, imperceptibly gradual diminution of an already wraithlike presence, retreating deeper into the shadows from which he would emerge fleetingly to reassure that he was not gone yet until one day, he was. Through it all, he remained happy, contentedly purring in his solitary way.
As did Toby, albeit quite differently, in his demandingly social, loving, expanding girth and need for affection. Leslie took Toby’s death hard, working hard to make it as easy for him as possible, in spite of the fact that this was the kind of work that was hardest for her to do, emotionally. But she was all-in on pack love: love one, love all. She directed from a window where I was to bury Toby’s remains, so that she could always see him from where she sat.

Richard Nash

May 15, 2018

Both Shiva and Toby gave us notice, prepared us, announced their pending departures. Their leaving was hard, but not unexpected. In retrospect, from where I sit now, it is possible to see that Leslie’s departure was not as sudden as it seemed when it happened: her energy level was less, she experienced discomforts, both new and familiar. And yet, none of them led to a diagnosis, though she and her doctors sought one.
Test after test ruled out illness after illness. Looking back now, we know enough only to know that she was dying all this time, and doing so in ways that could not be prevented any more than they could be anticipated.
It has often seemed to me that pets teach us to face mortality, and that animals generally help us to learn to be present. They are not constrained by promises and pressures, deadlines and obligations; animals are intently attuned to the present moment and to their current surroundings.

Richard Nash

May 15, 2018

In the Russian folktale, “The Firebird, the Princess Vassylisa, and the Horse of Power,” the “hero” who is supposed to rescue the princess is constantly encountering obstacles that provoke dithering bipolar anxiety; and always he is brought back to effective action by the wise counsel of his Horse of Power: “Weep not; the trouble is not now; the trouble is before you.”
That is, of course, what is so painful about this present moment. For now is the time for weeping; the trouble is no longer before us; it is now.
So weep. Weep long and hard; and don’t be afraid that if you start you will never stop; just weep. And then you will stop. And don’t be afraid that if you stop weeping, you will never start again. You will. Grieving doesn’t happen just once, and then it’s over.
Grieving is a process of remodeling; the way a horse remodels bone through exercise, building new bone up from the foundation, making us stronger, sounder, faster. Don’t try to deny it, and don’t rush it. Be present with it, let it in; as the pack let me in. And remember the lesson of the pack: love one, love all.
I love you, Leslie.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY