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Leslie, Neil July 1, 1943 - April 11, 2024

Neil L. Leslie was given to the world July 1, 1943.   He brought joy to everyone he met until his passing on April 11, 2024. Neil is survived by his three brothers: Ken, Jim & Glenn, his two handsome sons: A. Jason (wife Candi) of Edinboro and Aaron of Texas. Neil was “Pappy” to his two beautiful granddaughters Tasha and Nadiya, who he adored and are the apple of his blue eyes. Neil was an excellent cook and he loved baking with the girls. He looked forward to playing cards with the girls on Wednesdays and Bingo with his whole family on Tuesdays. 

Preceded in death by the love of his life Thea, in 2000. Thea was always on his mind and in his heart. Neil and Thea met in college as future educators; Thea’s calling was Kindergarten and Neil taught High School History. They settled on Jericho where he built a gorgeous home with his bare hands for his Thea & two much loved sons.  In retirement, everywhere Neil went, he would run into Cambridge Springs alums; who would stop in their tracks with a huge smile and hug for Neil. He always took the time to catch up with them (and remembered their name 99% of the time).  Even Neil’s History classes were fun! Neil would dress as the historical figures of the lesson to keep the kids engaged. 

Neil golfed nearly every day in summer and traveled in winter to Pine Hurst (Brother Glenn) or Sarasota (Brother Jim). Neil won his League Championship @ Riverside Golf Course at age 78!  It seems everyone in Edinboro has golfed with Neil at some point.

Neil’s good qualities and how greatly he will be missed are immeasurable.    To say Neil Leslie is your friend is to know there is always someone to count on, always willing to provide solid advice, will say something funny soon, and if the party wasn’t his idea, Neil ALWAYS made anything more fun. 

As the permanent “Life of the Party,” Neil was always up for anything. He told the best old jokes and his own joke has brought every one of us to tears at some point.  He had the quickest wit and fastest reflexes. He was a ninja on a staircase when called for. He was a good dancer and an avid gardener. Neil’s pool in the summertime was utter paradise. In recent years, he made his home an Air BnB. People visited from all over the world and of course they were fast friends. Many of us have friends we’ve met through the House in the Woods.

Take heed; The last week of Sept 2022 Neil was absolutely living his best life; He golfed 5 times, played bingo and boated with family, went to the Lake Resort or The Hotel Bar for happy hours with friends. He tragically fell 15 feet from a ladder while attempting to trim a limb. Although he never quite fully recovered, we all enjoyed a good last year with Neil. Despite being painful for all, his decline was rapid, a mere few months. He never thought he’d live this long. Thank goodness for all of us he did. 

Blessed be the man whose life held such value for so many; as surely WE have been blessed to have loved and be loved by him.

Friends may visit with the family at Van Matre Funeral Home in Edinboro on Saturday, April 20th from 2 to 5 PM.

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Condolences(7)

  1. REPLY
    Ruth Ann Hartenbach says

    Sorry for your loss. Stopped in to see him awhile ago, enjoyed the visit, I had him as a teacher.

  2. REPLY
    Dan Thomas says

    R. I. P. Neil …… great teacher – great person.

  3. REPLY
    Jeanne Espey says

    A kind and gentle soul. A gentleman through and through. Godspeed Neil. You will be deeply missed by so many.

  4. REPLY
    Big Al Williams says

    Neil was truly a great man and better friend! Edinboro truly lost a legend! He left a positive impact on everyone he met. After teaching nearly 40 years in the area he influenced multiple generations in Edinboro/ Cambridge/ Erie and more. He always greeted you with a smile and his constant humming, which he often did subconsciously, always let you know he was nearby! RIP Neil. You left a legacy and you will be missed!!

  5. REPLY
    Robin and Harry Gallant says

    So sorry to read about Neil’s passing. Our sincere sympathy to all of his family.

  6. REPLY
    Curtis L Bogda says

    I’m so sorry for your loss of your father. Neil was not only a great teacher of mine & was one of my football coaches, but he was such a great friend to ALL of his encounters. Neil will be missed by many with his charming speaking voice.

  7. REPLY
    Dave Faulkner says

    What an unexpected pleasure it was to have Neil visit our class reunion this past summer. He blessed so many. May God bless and comfort you all.

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