Leslie Gehres Girard

September 13, 1928April 5, 2021

Leslie Virginia Gehres Girard, 92, passed away peacefully on April 5, 2021, in La Mesa, CA. In her final days she was visited often by her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild. Her daughter, Maria Girard-Smith, was with her during her final moments.

She was born Gloria Leslie Virginia Gehres to Lt. (later Rear Admiral) Leslie E. Gehres and Rhoda Elizabeth Gehres (née Cooley) on September 13, 1928, in Coronado, CA. Leslie was the youngest child in a family that included her half-brother Dexter C. Rumsey II and half-sister Rhoda (née Rumsey) Moore Wells. As a young girl, Leslie was an avid horsewoman, winning many blue, red, and white ribbons while riding her favorite pony, Stevie.

Being the daughter of a Naval officer meant moving every few years. Leslie called Coronado, Pensacola, Honolulu (notably departing just one week prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor), and Seattle home before the family settled permanently in the San Diego area in 1949.

Leslie attended San Diego State University, did some local modeling, and supported her father in his political career and eventual campaign for Congress. While working as a secretary at Ryan Aeronautical Company, she met a dashing test pilot/engineer from Carmel Valley, CA who would end up proposing to her while soaring over Torrey Pines in a sailplane. Leslie married Peter F. Girard in December 1953 at the Mission San Carlos Borromeo in Carmel, CA.

The couple settled in La Mesa, CA where they raised their three children, Peter, Leslie, and Maria (Missy). A devout Catholic, she made certain all three children attended St. Martin’s Academy Catholic school where she was president of the Women’s Club and a Brownie, Girl Scout, and Cub Scout leader.

Leslie was an active member of the Letitia Cox Shelby chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), the Mayflower Society, and Colonial Dames. She was also immersed in the family genealogy, delving into detailed research well before the internet — and with even more gusto after she learned how to use a computer.

The delight of her life was helping to care for all five of her beloved grandchildren, taking them on various educational “Grandparents” trips as well as trips just for fun, watching them grow up, and being a significant part of their lives.

Leslie was predeceased by her husband Peter in 2011 and is survived by her children Peter G.Girard and his wife Kathleen of San Diego, CA; Leslie J. Girard and his wife Lori of Carmel Valley, CA; Maria A. Girard-Smith and her husband Stephen Smith of San Jose, CA; and her five grandchildren Peter Edward Girard, Michael Gehres Girard and his wife Leyla, Camille Marie Girard, Leslie Franklin Girard, and Nicholas John Girard; her great-grandchild Emilia Noelle Girard; and her nephew R. B. “Brev” Moore.

All of whom will be forever grateful for her influence and generosity and will miss her quick smile, infectious laugh, and unconditional love.

Services will take place on a future date when COVID-19 restrictions are further lifted and friends and family can gather to celebrate the life of our beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Leslie Gehres Girard

have a memory or condolence to add?

Thérèse Cauchon

April 6, 2021


It is so wonderful
after the long goodbye softens
(this can take years)
to fall into the arms
of a beloved
who lives
so so far away
& yet so close
that you can hear
the whispers in your ear.

The encouragement--
come on darling
you can do this,
the tenderness--
it's ok sweetheart,
it will all work out,
the joyfulness--
everything is perfect!
everything is wonderful!

You thought they would leave you?
How preposterous!
Of course not!
Some things are too fierce
to fade away.

- Hélène Cauchon, my sister (4 February 2021)

I trust "Mrs. Girard's" legacy of living life intensely will live on through (Mr. &) Mrs. Girard's children, extended family, and grandchildren+.

My childhood memory of Mrs. Girard was that she was a force to be reckoned with - this came from her volunteer involvement at St. Martin's Academy and the Church.