Leslie Lynn Laidlaw, 65, died at her home in Petersburg, Indiana on December 26, 2012. Born in Oakland City, Indiana on December 27, 1946, she was the second of the three children of William C. and Jean M. Laidlaw. Her parents predeceased her as did her younger brother, Richard M. Laidlaw; her paternal grandparents Floyd M. and Helen Carroll Laidlaw (died 1918) and Bernice Laidlaw; and maternal grandparents Otis E. and Helen V. Miller. Leslie was a graduate of Wood Memorial High School in Oakland City and Purdue University. Following her graduation from Purdue and her work in Lafayette as a psychiatric nurse, Leslie moved to Germany, living and working there for a year. When she returned to the U.S., she moved to Arizona and later to Silver City, New Mexico. Strongly drawn to Native American cultures and their reverence for all life, Leslie remained in the Southwest for over 25 years. That region served as frequent inspiration for her many writing and artistic endeavors. She returned to Indiana to live in 2007.
Devoted since childhood to birds and animals of all kinds, Leslie intended to become a veterinarian. She was, however, denied admittance to the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine because she was a woman. Undeterred by the gender discrimination permissible at that time, she received her bachelor degree in Animal Science and her masters in Ethology and later a degree in nursing, all from Purdue. Her meticulous research with wolves at the Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Indiana led to the publication of an article co-authored with Dr. Erich Klinghammer, then director of Wolf Park and Purdue professor of Ethology. Their article remains an often-cited source in animal behavior research literature and textbooks. Leslie's study of Ethology and her collaboration with Dr. Klinghammer remained a profound influence on all of her professional work.
For the remainder of her life, Leslie would be devoted to researching and caring for birds and animals, frequently consulting with pet owners experiencing a variety of problems with their pets. For much of her life, her own home was a veritable menagerie. Leslie's childhood penchant for writing poetry also continued throughout her life. In her poem "The Bobwhite Count" which was published in "Centres of Expression", Leslie combines her passion for the outdoors with her keen sense of nature as something to be savored and venerated. Her talent for painting and sketching, first evident when she was a young girl, also continued with animals and birds as her preferred subjects. A gifted pianist and flutist, she played both until arthritis made it too difficult for her to continue.
Leslie is survived by her brother, J. Michael Laidlaw and his wife Wendy, of Portland, Maine; nephews Michael E. Laidlaw and his wife Tammy of Newnan, Georgia; and Jon-Christopher D. Laidlaw and his wife Melanie of Evansville; great-nieces Gabrielle, Hayley, Hannah Jean, and Ciara; great-nephews Justin, Jackson, Caden, and Donovan; and cousins Ann Ricker, Margaret Jean Hoxley, Brian Miller, and Kelli Granade. Surviving also are Laura and Jim Chubbick who were a continuing source of friendship and support when Leslie moved back to Indiana.
A service, including the distribution of her ashes at a Petersburg site, will be announced later this year. Family and friends desiring to commemorate Leslie's life may do so by making a contribution to the:
4004 East 800 North
Battle Ground, IN 47920
Published in Courier Press on Jan. 8, 2013