Leslie E. Speed Jr., a resident of St. Ann Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, died peacefully on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 19, in his room at the St. Ann facility.
Leslie was born in 1924 in Queens, N.Y. to Leslie E. Speed Sr. and Anna M. Speed and grew up in Williston Park, N.Y. He graduated from Mineola High School and at age 18, joined the U.S. Navy, serving proudly on the USS Weber as a depth charge gunner during World War II in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres.
Following his honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy at the end of World War II, he pursued his higher education at Hofstra University, achieving a bachelor’s degree, and then a master’s degree in education. With degree in hand, he became a successful and dedicated elementary and junior high school science teacher, completing his distinguished teaching career of 32 years in Huntington, N.Y. During his retirement years, he drove a school bus for 15 years in South Huntington, N.Y. Leslie and Marion lived on Orcas Island for four years from 2001- 2005.
Leslie wedded Marion M. Schelling in 1951, beginning a deeply loving and caring marriage that lasted for more than 58 years until Marion passed away in February of 2010. Leslie was a devoted, loving husband and father, who very much enjoyed being with his family and friends.
He also developed a passion for the sport of tennis and was quite an accomplished amateur player for many years. While living on Orcas, Leslie enjoyed playing tennis at Buck Park with Joe and Matthew. In his forties, Leslie took up flying and became a practiced and enthusiastic private pilot for over 30 years. While on Orcas, Leslie loved spending time at the airport with Rod of Biplane Rides. Leslie was a handsome, intelligent, athletic and generous man, who was both an exemplary role model and a real life hero to many, especially his two sons.
Leslie is survived by his two sons, Eric L. Speed and Errol C. Speed, nine grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
The Wiggin-Purdy Funeral Home of Dover, N.H. has been entrusted with arrangements.
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