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Virginia L. Leslie

Virginia L. Leslie Obituary
Virginia Lee (Ginger/Gigi) Heinz Leslie, 83, of Fox Chapel, died suddenly, but peacefully, Saturday, July 6, 2019, in her favorite chair on the porch overlooking Chautauqua Lake within Chautauqua Institute in Chautauqua, N.Y. Ginger touched all who knew her and inspired everyone through her kindness and incredible passion for life. She was one of the strongest women you could possibly know. She fought and conquered multiple illnesses due to her will to live. She now rests with God and looks over her loving family. We will forever miss our Ginger, our Gigi. As tears come down our faces, we know how much she loved us and cared for us. We love you Ginger (Gigi); you will forever be in our hearts. Born appropriately on "devil's eve," Oct. 30, 1935, in Pittsburgh, she was the youngest child of Frederick and Margaret Heinz, of Fox Chapel. She attended Aspinwall High School, where she established lifelong friendships. At Chautauqua Lake, she grew up attending the Boys and Girls Club, where she eventually became a club counselor. She excelled in athletics as a cheerleader, and during the summer months on the lake water skiing. Gigi always found herself on the top of the water ski pyramid when they performed. She sailed with her brother Skippy on a Snipe named "Skip the Gin." Ginger was the youngest of three sisters Babs, Sally, Peggy, and brother Skip. She was a graduate of Marjorie Webster Junior College in Washington, D.C., and eventually became a teacher of nursery school children at Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church. In 1961, she met Russell Leslie, a Dartmouth graduate, while he was enrolled at Pitt Medical School. They enjoyed intermittent gatherings, parties and night skiing, eventually leading to their long-term romance. After a few years of courting, Virginia Lee Heinz and Merle Russell Leslie Jr., MD., were married Nov. 28, 1964, in Heinz Chapel. An enduring love developed as they began their life together, first in the Army in Anniston, Ala., and then on to San Francisco and Los Angeles, Calif., eventually returning to Pittsburgh to establish their home. Ginger and Russ had four great children, Scott, Lisa, Craig and Kristen. She single-handedly raised and nurtured them with her uncanny common sense, good nature and occasional shenanigans. Characteristics of Ginger that we all loved: she was fun, vivacious, feisty and a loving woman. She was all about family. Routinely after sending her children off to school, Ginger would be off to her favorite diners for coffee and casual conversation. Ginger loved to shop! She wanted to be up to date with her fashion sense and style. She always wanted to look good for Russ. She loved to entertain. She was an exceptional cook and hostess. Ginger always enjoyed preparing for events alongside Russ. They were an exceptional team. Both in the winter and summer, Ginger had a perpetual sun tan, the result of sunbathing on the beaches of Delray Beach, Fla., with friends from the East Winds Beach Club and time on the dock at Chautauqua Lake. Within Chautauqua, she was most comfortable just sitting on her favorite chair on the porch, greeting those who were friends and visitors alike with simple comments like "good morning, how are you today, what a beautiful day, how did you do in the races today," etc. Ginger loved the simple things in life. She never needed anything extravagant. Ginger's father, Frederick Charles Heinz, died in 1964 prior to her wedding, and her mother, Margaret Wolf Heinz, died in 1982. She was preceded in death by her siblings, Barbara Hancock, Sally Waddell (Bob), Peggy Hall Reynolds (Paul), and Frederick Heinz (Marlene). She is survived by Russ, her husband of 54 years; and her four children, Scott Leslie (Kelly), Lisa Swiggett (Hank), Craig Leslie and Kristen Gardner (Jeff); seven grandchildren, Tucker Leslie (Ashley), Tate Leslie (Jessica), Casey King, Keaton Leslie (Samantha) and Bailey, Jamie, and Blake Swiggett and Russell Gardner; one great-granddaughter, Anderson Leslie; and many loving cousins, nieces and nephews.
Visitation and greetings will be held from 2 to 4 and 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, at the Leslie home, 119 Springhouse Lane, Fox Chapel, PA 15238. Children are welcome and valet service will be available. A memorial service for Ginger will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, at The Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church, 384 Fox Chapel Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238. Immediately following the memorial service a luncheon reception from noon to 3 p.m. will be held at The Fox Chapel Golf Club, 426 Fox Chapel Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238 for all to attend, whether attending the service or not, to celebrate Ginger's life; children are also welcome. Arrangements by JOHN A. FREYVOGEL SONS, INC.
Remembrances in her name may be made to the Chautauqua Foundation, P.O. Box 28, One Ames Ave., Chautauqua, NY 14722, Email: [email protected], Phone: 716-357-6214. freyvogelfuneralhome.com.
Published in Trib Total Media, online only from Sept. 1 to Sept. 15, 2019
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