Leslie Nagel was born to Clara and Leslie Smith on June 29, 1909 on the North Dakota family farm. Named after both parents, her legal name is Clara Leslie, but she has always been known as "Les" or "Leslie."
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As a child Leslie did the typical farm girl chores - feeding livestock and milking cows, etc. She went to a one-room country school through the ninth grade. She finished high school and a year of college at the State Normal and Industrial School at Ellendale, North Dakota. This qualified her to teach the primary grades and she began a teaching career that continued intermittently for 36 years. She met my father, Adelbert F. Nagel, at Ellendale and they married in 1928. They taught in North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Washington state, and number of years teaching in Alaska.
During World War II the Nagels moved to Seattle where Mr. Nagel got a "war job." It was impossible to rent or buy a home, so they bought some raw land and built a house in their "spare" time. Leslie worked steadily on the house. Among other things, she mixed concrete, shingled and painted the entire exterior, and laid the hardwood floors. Among her other accomplishments she taught herself secretarial skills and took other business courses by correspondence. In her early years she also did some nice oil paintings. She was a fine rifle shot, and embarrassed a number of men with her skill.
After leaving Alaska the Nagels moved to the tiny town of Wilson Creek in central Washington. Dad was hired as school superintendent and Mom taught the primary grades. She continues to get cards and letter of appreciation from former students. Last year she received over 20 such cards - 44 years after her last teaching job.
Adelbert and Leslie stayed at Wilson Creek for 14 years, retired for to Samish Island. Mr. Nagel passed away in 1980. Leslie soon started doing volunteer work at the hospital where he had been treated. Typically, she did the work that others didn't want to do - mostly sewing repairs to bedding and hospital gowns. In addition she spent many hours at home knitting items that she donated to the hospital gift shop. The proceeds were used to buy hospital equipment.
In 2008 Leslie suffered a stroke and could no longer live alone. She moved to AEGIS of Edmonds, an assisted living home, and remained there until her death at age 103.
Leslie's funeral will be 1:00 Sat., Oct. 27 at the Hawthorne Funeral Home, 1825 E. College Way, Mount Vernon.
She is survived by her son, Adelbert L. Nagel of Edmonds, a granddaughter Heidi L. Nagel of Shoreline, and Heidi's son Peter Breit.
Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company from Oct. 24 to Oct. 27, 2012