The Leslie Lathrop Lingley Memorial Student Research and Travel Fund was established with a remarkable gift from Western alumni Jimmy F. Diehl (1968, 1972) and Suzanne Beske Diehl (1972) to the Geology Department at Western Washington University. This gift is in memory of a wonderful woman whose balanced life of family, work, contributions, and adventure inspired those lucky enough to know her. This fund will enable undergraduate students needing financial support to conduct summer research projects with a faculty member; support undergraduate travel to scientific meetings, department-sponsored field trips (especially, the field geology course); and(or) other endeavors deemed appropriate by the Department for their University education.
Leslie Lynn Lingley (nee Lathrop, b. Jan. 23, 1952, Denver) passed peacefully on January 31, 2021, as a result of 17-years of breast cancer, her life wonderfully and productively extended by the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Leslie lived in Lubbock, Dayton, Altus, and Omaha, the daughter of a B-52 pilot, before enthusiastically studying geology at Western Washington University (BA, ’74). After many happy years spent as a stay-at-home Mom, nurturing her family and contributing to the community, Leslie worked as the Quinault Indian Nation geologist and as a geologist with the USFS, before serving a decade and rising to Science Team Lead for Washington’s DNR Forest Practices Division. Much of her success hinged on her bottom-line approach to problem solving, unusually hard work, and warm-hearted tolerance for conflicting opinions. Leslie performed arduous fieldwork well into her 60s, forcing her way through devil’s club and digging her caulked boots into mossy forested cliffs...she lived her mantra, “buck-up”.
Leslie lived in four countries and Puerto Rico and had extended visits to 45 more, mastering Spanish and Indonesian, and bearing two of her three sons in a small Jakarta clinic. She co-designed, wired, and tiled the new family home beside Henderson Inlet and taught forest-road construction in Borneo. An accomplished spinner and seamstress, a chef par excellence, and an adventuress, Leslie loved skiing, floated the Grand Canyon twice, bicycled many miles most weeks, and led all-woman climbs in the early 70s. Later in life, she enjoyed knitting on a high ledge and taking in the view while her sons summited.
Darjeeling, 1980; Olympia, 2016, Porto Venere-Italy – 1977
She was an exceptional mom and champion of academics, with two sons earning doctorates in engineering and the third, an extraordinarily accomplished entrepreneur. Leslie’s main charitable venues were the Wyoming Children’s Home, South Bay School, where she set volunteer income-records, and North Thurston High School, where she received their Outstanding Volunteer award.
She was friend and confidant to all and the easiest conversationalist without a trace of artifice or selfishness. Young women frequently asked Leslie to be their second mom and her life continues to be a beacon for many. Despite being pleasantly gullible owing to a propensity to trust everyone, she was quick to take command and to be decisive in order to accomplish worthy goals expeditiously. She was the sweetest friend.
Thank you for supporting this fund in honor of an amazing woman who made an impact on so many.