Joan W. Leslie, 92: Loved outdoors, studied with architecture greats

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BRUNSWICK — Joan Warland Leslie, 92, died Aug. 4 in Brunswick.

She was born in Boston on Nov. 30, 1921, to Marion Sortwell Warland and William Seaver Warland. She was also the the granddaughter of Alvin Foye Sortwell, the former mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and grew up there and in Wiscasset, the home of her great-grandmother. She also spent periods of her childhood in Bermuda and Rome.

Leslie attended Beaver Country Day School in Brookline, Massachusetts, and later the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. In the early 1940s, she attended the Harvard Graduate School of Design, studying architecture with such legendary Modernists as Walter Gropius. Although she chose to raise a family instead of entering practice, she maintained an abiding interest in building design.

She married John Frederick Leslie in Pinehurst, North Carolina, in 1943, while he was on leave from the U.S. Army. After World War II, the couple moved to Harvard, Massachusetts, where their four children were born. In 1952, the family moved to Brunswick.

As a child, Leslie loved being outside at her family’s farm in Wiscasset. She took great interest in the animals and gardens there, and her menagerie of pets included turtles, dogs, ducks and donkeys. Later, as a young woman, she enjoyed tennis, swimming, skiing and horseback riding on ranches in Wyoming and New Mexico. She was a devoted fan of Bowdoin College hockey and of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. And she relished the company of her extended family and many friends.

Leslie served on the board of Maine Preservation and was a corporator of the Wiscasset Public Library. She also was a member of Historic New England, the Wiscasset Garden Club, the Morris Farm Trust and the Wiscasset Female Charitable Society.

She was predeceased by her husband, daughter Constance Leslie Barker and granddaughter Lydia Poole Barker.

She is survived by her son, John Frederick Leslie Jr., and wife, Laura Ornest; son, Seaver Warland Leslie, and wife, Anne; daughter, Kate Leslie Mann, and husband, Neil; son-in-law, Warren Barker; grandchildren, Tyler Mann and wife, Amy, Nicholas Mann and wife, Suzanne, Genevieve Leslie, Marion Leslie, Frances Leslie, Wylie Barker and Harrison Ornest-Leslie; a step-granddaughter, Lily Barker; and a great-granddaughter, Olivia Constance Mann.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, Aug. 15, at 4 p.m., at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Wiscasset. Donations in Leslie’s honor may be made to the Morris Farm Trust in Wiscasset or to the Wiscasset Public Library.