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Monday, 06 January 2014 13:08

Naton D. Leslie, Jr.

By | Obituaries

BALLSTON SPA — Dr. Naton D. Leslie, Jr., 57, of Ballston Spa, author and professor of English at Siena College, died Friday morning, December 27, after a long, courageous battle. Professor Leslie was a Kennedy Award winner at Siena College where he was a well-respected faculty member since 1990, specializing in creative writing and literature.

Professor Leslie’s publications include seven books of poetry, a non-fiction work about second-hand culture in America, “That Might be Useful,” and a collection of short stories including, “Marconi's Dream,” which won the George Garrett Fiction Prize. An eclectic and versatile author, Professor Leslie was first and foremost a poet with over 300 poems published nationwide and overseas. He was both an NEA and NYFA fellow. A prolific essayist, his work has been included in Best American Essays and recognized with notable status since 1997. He also leaves behind a large body of work yet to be published.

Born in Warren, Ohio, what was then called the Steel Valley, Professor Leslie put himself through college, earning a bachelor’s from Youngstown State University and a master’s and doctorate from Ohio University.

Though his upbringing he was set amid factory smokestacks. He had strong roots in the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania, and these disparate backgrounds are the locales of much of what he wrote. Professor Leslie was also a highly skilled craftsman and woodworker, as well as an expert antique collector and restorer who was never happier than when he was in his workshop, his study, a classroom, or out on an adventure with his basset hound, Melville, and his bloodhound, Flannery.

He spent many happy summers working as a skilled avocational archaeologist at various dig sites in Lake George and Fort Edward.

Professor Leslie leaves behind his beloved wife and soul mate, Susan, of Ballston Spa.; and children, Erin Jackson of Manhattan, Keith Jackson of Glens Falls and Claire Jackson of Rensselaer; also, his mother, Margaret “Peggy” Leslie; sister, LueAnn Morocco (Frank), of Alliance, Ohio; and nephew, Dr. Frank Morocco, Jr. (Rachael); and grandnephew, Dominic of Columbus, Ohio.

He was predeceased by his father, Naton D. Leslie, Sr.

He was loved and will be missed by his family, his many friends, his colleagues, and all those students whose lives he touched.

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