Donald Milton McLeslie Jr.
August 26, 1966 – April 11, 2021
Donald McLeslie Jr. gained his wings and joined our Lord in Heaven on Sunday, April 11, 2021 at the age of 54. During his much-too-brief time on this Earth, he made numerous friends and positive impacts on everyone who was so blessed to be a part of his life. Donald was born on August 26, 1966 in Havre Montana, the second child of Donald and Barbara McLeslie. Their family moved around a few times, including to Wyoming, Grand Junction, CO, and ultimately settled in Craig, CO, where Donald would remain. As a kid, Donald loved to play video games. He also loved hanging out with his older brother Chris, I’m sure getting into a few shenanigans every now and then. On Saturday mornings they would ride their bikes around town collecting cans that people had saved for him. Then their mother would recycle them for money for Donald to play video games. He also loved sports, both playing and watching them. In high school, Donald wrestled, a sport that he really enjoyed, and was good at because of his incredible strength. His friends and fellow teammates have many fond memories of watching him and wrestling with him. He played football as well, which it was said that he was a natural at. His determination and great attitude was always an inspiration to those around him. He also enjoyed his woodshop class with Mr. Craig Conrad. He would make things for his mother that she cherished so very much. He and Mr. Conrad became very close, and remained good friends for long after Donald graduated school in 1984. Donald would sometimes join Mr. Conrad for motivational speeches given at schools, and was included as a subject in a book written by Mr. Conrad titled “Unstoppable! Inspiring Lessons for the Unstoppable You!” He never married or had children of his own, but the rest of his family meant the world to him. He played a giant role in helping his father raise his two nieces, Carrie and Violet from the time that they were babies until they became adults. He was also very involved in the lives of his other two nieces, Jordan and Kristina, spending most holidays and birthdays with them, as well as sharing in the many milestones of their lives. He was extremely proud of all four of them for their many accomplishments. Donald lived with parents until his mother went home to Heaven in 1993, and then continued to live with his father until he was called home as well in 2020. Donald had different jobs throughout his life, but all who knew him knew that the job he enjoyed the best was working for his big brother Chris at Precision Auto Service. He did an array of tasks in and around the shop to assist in their daily workload. The customers would always comment on how immaculate the shop was when Donald worked there. He would also give customers rides, and most likely talked to them the entire time. During his time working there, Donald met and befriended numerous people. In fact, it would seem that there weren’t many people who he met that he didn’t become friends with. His personality was just so charming and infectious, as was his smile and his laugh. He loved joking with people, and playfully teasing them as well. Donald just loved people, and they loved him. Donald was a life-time sports fanatic. He especially loved football, and his Denver Broncos. He would often bet with friends and family on the outcome of football games season after season. You could always count on seeing him dressed up in some Broncos gear, nearly every day of the year, with the exception of his Kansas City Chiefs shirt he wore after losing a bet with longtime friend Tod Dutton. Donald’s friendship with Tod spanned most of his life. Though they lived states away from each other as adults, they always remained close. Donald very much cherished the friendship that they had. Donald was born with a slight developmental delay, and so he was actively involved with his friends at Horizons Specialized Services. He very much enjoyed the things that they would do together, including bowling, hiking, and skiing, among many others. His favorite though, was competing in weightlifting in the Special Olympics. At first he was apprehensive to the idea, but soon realized he was quite good at it. He worked hard and trained hard and pushed himself to become stronger and better each year. He went home from the competitions with numerous medals, which he would add to his collection. His family and friends loved to watch him excel in this. He had a strength that was just so amazing to witness, even after he had heart failure and had to carry a backpack with an oxygen tank. To those that knew Donald, he was more than a brother, neighbor, uncle, teammate, or co-worker. More than that, he was a friend to everybody that he encountered in his life. Always ready to make you laugh, and laugh with you too. Always a true friend, always a true inspiration, with a heart way too big for this small world. A world that will never be the same without him here. But we all have these wonderful, fond memories of him that will remain in our hearts until we get to see him again in Heaven. Donald is survived by numerous friends and family, his immediate family being his brother Chris (Nikki) McLeslie, his sister Julie McLeslie, his nieces Jordan (John) Bullock, Kristina (Nic) Cordova, Carrie (DJ) McLeslie, Violet (Gary) Otis, Myrissa (Jamie) Meyer, and Rabecca Lauer. He is also survived by four great-nephews and a great-niece who he loved very much, Nathan and Jake York, Evelyn Smarik, Oakley Roberts, and Emmit Wheeler. He was preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Barbara McLeslie. We are here today to celebrate the life of an amazing and wonderful man whom we all loved so dearly, and whose time on this Earth seemed far too brief. My uncle Donald was such a huge part of my life from the day I was born until the day he joined his beloved parents in Heaven. He was the strongest man I know. He was the sweetest man I know. He always found a way to make every moment with him joyous and full of fun. He just had a way of making the world a better place just by being a part of it. I will forever cherish the many memories I have of him. Our phone calls, our Sunday dinners, our bets on Broncos-Raiders football games (he loved giving me a hard time about being a Raiders fan). I will always remember that deep and pure laugh of his, and that smile that made you want to smile too. I know we are all heartbroken at the loss of such a joyous man. But rather than just being sad, we need to remember how very blessed we were to have him be a part of our lives. While it certainly won’t ever be the same without him, we need to cherish the times that we had with him, and use the inspiration he gave all of us to inspire others. I will love you forever, as I know everyone here today will as well
Celebration of Life
Saturday, April 17, 2021