Jack Leslie

LESLIE, Jack Jack Leslie was born in Calgary on June 15, 1920. He received his primary and secondary school education in Calgary and attended the University of Alberta. With the outbreak of war, he left his studies in Edmonton and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. He saw five years service as a pilot and flying instructor, training hundreds of men to fly. In May, 1942 Jack married the love of his life, Jean Logan of Calgary. After his discharge, he obtained his AACI degree and joined his father in J.C. Leslie & Co., one of the first real estate firms in Calgary. Jack was an Honourary Life Member of the Calgary Real Estate Board. Jack was an avid fisherman and in 1952 he fulfilled a lifelong dream when he and Jean built a fishing camp at Kootenay Crossing on freehold land in Kootenay National Park, doing most of the work himself. Many sportsmen from Calgary and around the world enjoyed fishing and hunting from the camp. In 1959 the National Parks Department expropriated the freehold land. Jack went back to the real estate business, but in 1962, feeling strongly about some mishandled issues at City Hall, he ran successfully for Ward 4 Alderman. When the CPR proposed running railway tracks along the south bank of the Bow River as part of a large downtown development plan, Jack led the fight against the plan and won the two-year battle. Serving on the Land Committee, he also persuaded the City to purchase Bow riverbank property as it became available. In 1965 Jack became the first native-born mayor of Calgary. One of his first projects was building a walking trail linking the Calgary Zoo with Shouldice Park - the beginning of Calgary's extensive parkway path system. During his term, the transformation of Prince's Island into one of the city's beauty spots was begun; major low-cost housing projects were undertaken; Crowchild Trail and the Palliser Square project were completed; the downtown Plus-15 network was started; and Stephen Avenue Mall and Deerfoot Trail were begun. He established the City of Calgary Transportation and Aviation Authority, and the airport underwent major expansion. After leaving the mayor's chair, Jack returned to the real estate and appraisal business. Jack and Jean established, in partnership with the City of Calgary, the Jack Leslie Youth Environment Award which is presented annually to high school students who propose the best environment improvement project. Jack is survived by his wife of sixty-nine years, Jean; daughters Kathleen Leslie (and her daughter Kristina Mackid), Marilynn Brown (husband Eric, and sons Sean Griffin and Spencer Brown), and Fay Leslie (children Jaimie and Madeleine Bourgeois); also his sister Kathleen Hyatt, brothers George and Gordon; and many nieces and nephews. The family would like to thank Rosalina and her staff for their assistance during the last number of months. Special thanks to our nieces Nyla Ash and Pat Meadows for their support. A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, January 9, 2011 at the Calgary Golf and Country Club, Elbow Drive and 50 Avenue S.W., at 2:00 p.m.

Published in The Calgary Herald from Jan. 1 to Jan. 2, 2011