Leslie "Les" Updegrove

December 11, 1946August 21, 2020

“Les” Updegrove of Wernersville passed away on Friday, Aug. 21st at Reading Hospital after battling leukemia for three months. He was the son of LeRoy and Regina Updegrove of Gilbertsville, PA. He had one sibling, Cherie, who predeceased him in March of 2000. Les was a graduate of Boyertown High School. He went on to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Tristate College (Trine University) of Illinois. For the next 41 years he dedicated his life to working at Motorola. He traveled extensively in Asia and Australia in support of radio and cell phone manufacturing. Once Les retired, he enjoyed traveling to and hiking in many of the National Parks, especially the Grand Canyon. He was also constantly researching his extensive family tree and enjoyed meeting long lost cousins! When he wasn’t traveling or doing genealogical research, Les loved tinkering with and rebuilding antique radios. Les spent the majority of his adult life living in Schaumburg, IL, finally coming back East to his roots to spend the last months of his life close to his loving family. He is survived by his brother in law Charles R Schwenk husband of Barbara, 2 nephews: C. Michael Schwenk husband of Abby, Larry R Schwenk husband of Sarah and 1 niece: Stacey (Schwenk) Walmsley wife of Christopher. He is also survived by 6 great nephews and 3 great-great nephews. Les will be missed terribly not only by his family but also by all his long-time retired friends from Motorola with whom he enjoyed a weekly beer until he moved back to Pennsylvania. Linwood W. Ott Funeral Home of Boyertown, PA is in charge of funeral arrangements. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated by Fr R. James on Thurs, Sept. 3rd at 10am at Most Blessed Sacrament Church, Bally, PA. (Please use side entrance.) Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the family requests that guests please follow current social distancing rules and wear masks. Burial at Limerick Gardens will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; Donor Services; PO Box 98018; Washington DC 20090-8018.


  • Charles R. Schwenk (Barbara), Brother-in-law
  • C. Michael Schwenk (Abby), Nephew
  • Larry R. Schwenk (Sarag), Nephew
  • Stacey (Schwenk) Walmsley (Christopher), Niece
  • Regina (Bauer) Updegrove, Mother (Deceased)
  • L. E. Roy Updegrove, Father (Deceased)
  • Les is also survived by six great nephews and three great nieces.

Learn more about the Updegrove name


  • Leukemia, Lymphoma Society of America


  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Thursday, September 3, 2020


Leslie "Les" Updegrove

have a memory or condolence to add?

Michelle Wilson

September 9, 2020

Really enjoyed getting to know Les at our Schaumburg genealogy club. We spent a fine afternoon comparing statistical methods relating to a genetic genealogy problem - Les was a master of statistics! He will be missed.

Dock Chen

September 3, 2020

R.I.P. my mentor, Les.
You're the best mentor in my career, I did learn a lot from you. Not only QA stuff but also the way we live, how to balance between life and works...
You're remembered.

Vivian Tseng

August 30, 2020

We knew each other since 2002, Les is like my big brother. He travelled very often to Taiwan and we enjoyed the time together until he retired from Motorola. He was so warm and kind to everyone. We still kept in touch after his retirement.
He is one of my very important friends. I hope to meet him again in heaven.....
Rest in peace, my big brother....

Donald Ernst

August 30, 2020

I worked with Les at Motorola during the last few years of our careers there. What a great and enjoyable person! After Motorola we continued to enjoy breakfast together, sometimes with my wife. I'll miss him and hearing about all his hiking adventures!

God rest his soul....

Dan Przybylski

August 29, 2020

Les was a significant contributor to the success of Motorola’s cellular telephone business.
His professionalism and personality made him easy to work with. May he rest in peace.

(John) Gary Niemiec

August 29, 2020

I first met Les in the early '70s when he first started working with Motorola as a manufacturing engineer. He was always great to work with and had a good sense of humor to put up with me. Our paths crossed again in retirement and he still maintained that humor. He will sadly be missed.

Judy Post

August 28, 2020

My heartfelt deepest sympathy to the Updegrove family.
Les was the Quality Manager for the NTT program of Motorola.
The only American made telephone sold in Japan.
Nothing got by him, functionally, cosmetically, even the wording and spelling of the user manuals to be customer friendly.
EVERY detail counted. Les could be very aggravating at times, but he was right. There was no one prouder than Les Updegrove when the program sold it's 10,000th unit. A huge milestone for the team, the company. Les shook everyone's hand in the factory, day and night shift thanking them for all the hard work.

On a personal note: Les was my cheerleader when I was going thru my own cancer battles. I will cherish the emails he sent me.
I am proud to call Les Updegrove a dear friend.

Matt Taylor

August 27, 2020

I started at Motorola right out of college in 1992. Motorola was an intimidating place for a new engineer, because there were so many smart people there that that had built so much of what we take for granted today. I think Les was in charge of quality for Japan at the time, and he was one of the kindest and most patient teachers you could imagine whenever our paths crossed. I met up with him years later for a beer at the top of the Hyatt across from Taipei 101 in Taiwan. Same great guy.

Richard and Ryzner

August 27, 2020

my condolences to the Updegrove family. He was born and he died. In between Les was so much more. I do not know how long Les worked at Motorola but he was a good friend, mentor and firm believer in the facts that what was good for Motorola would be good for everyone who worked for Motorola. Some would say he was stubborn in that regard. He did not play company politics and did not believe in go along to get along. He is missed by all his Motorola friends.

Nancy Updegrove (Krenzel)

August 23, 2020

Les was my first cousin. His father and my father were brothers. We both grew up in the Boyertown area and graduated from Boyertown Area Senior High School, he in 1964 and me 2 years later. We had been communicating with each other for several years while Les was still living in the Chicago area. Once he relocated to the Reading area, plans to visit were interrupted by the Covid 19 pandemic. He was very meticulous in his research about the Updegrove ancestry.
I was shocked and saddened to hear of his passing.

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