MASHPEE, MA - Leslie A. Marsh, a retired banker and dedicated community volunteer died suddenly on Saturday, May 23 at the age of 68.
She was the beloved wife of Daniel Marsh III for 44 years, devoted mother of Graham and Allison, and proud grandmother, “Mumsy”, of Andrea and Eloise.
Born and raised in Batavia, New York Leslie was a 1970 graduate of Batavia High School. She went on to attend Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York where she excelled academically, athletically and thrived in campus life. She became president of her sorority, Phi Sigma Phi in her senior year. Hartwick was also where she met Dan who courted her with devotion. She graduated in 1974 earning a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in economics and sociology.
Chase Manhattan Bank recruited Leslie fresh out of college in 1974 to enroll in their management trainee program. She quickly became a branch manager in the bank’s Mid-Hudson Region and advanced over the next decade to become the Director of Marketing for the Westchester and Bronx County Division, where she developed the marketing plan for and directed the opening of Chase Manhattan’s first Personal Banking Center in Scarsdale, NY.
In August of 1976 she married her soul mate, Dan and they embarked on their life’s journey together, enthusiastically restoring a historic Victorian home overlooking the Hudson River in Newburgh, New York. Upon the completion of the restoration ten-years later, Leslie, Dan, and their son Graham, moved to Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York and welcomed Allison into the world.
Leslie continued her education in her chosen career field earning a master’s degree in finance from the C. W. Post Center at Long Island University in 1983.
The couple, and later with their children, loved to travel and explore different regions, cultures and traditions of the world. It was on a Labor Day vacation in 1985 that Leslie and Dan fell in love with Cape Cod and decided on a whim to make it their home. After she determined that Mashpee would be a wonderful place to raise children, Leslie found a job, they purchased a home and before Thanksgiving traded her executive position at one of the largest banks in the world, for a small-town life.
Chase Manhattan’s loss would be Plymouth Savings Bank’s Gain. Leslie was hired in 1986 as the Regional Manager and Vice President of Retail Banking for a nine-branch network. When the bank was acquired by Eastern Bank in 2005, Leslie took charge of 15 branches serving the South Shore and Cape Cod. In 2007, she left Eastern for an opportunity to open the new to Mashpee, Santander Bank. In 2008, Leslie opened the branch as Manager and Vice President, a job she thoroughly enjoyed until her retirement in 2018.
As her children grew, Leslie volunteered at every activity from Cub Scouts to school sports right through college where she enthusiastically supported Graham’s activities at Falmouth Academy and Bates College She also became known as the “mother” of the Notre Dame Women’s Rowing Team, never missing Allison’s regattas, setting up tents and serving food post-race. She also taught Sunday School at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Barnstable.
Leslie was a “foodie” both in searching out exotic restaurants and practicing recipes inspired by the finest chefs, creating five-star dining experiences for family and friends. She made a tradition of recreating holiday dinner menus from Gourmet magazine, recipe for recipe in detail. On many a holiday she would canvas family and friends to locate a key exotic ingredient not available on Cape Cod that she was sure, if not included, would spoil the dining experience. The family’s quest for ingredients always made for fun conversation at the holiday table.
To her family and friends Leslie was the consummate entertainer and caretaker. Leslie rarely declined an opportunity to help, she brought her enthusiastic, creative, and expert planning and organizing skills to master any challenge. From intimate dinners, to her daughter’s magical Cape Cod themed wedding, Leslie thrived in entertaining and creating experiences with keen attention to every detail, making sure everyone was served.
As much as she loved summers on Cape Cod, Leslie loved to travel to exotic destinations exposing her family to unique experiences. She was the principal planner for dozens of family vacations across the country and around the world from llama trekking in Colorado to a black-tie New Year’s Eve in a castle in Scotland. Leslie and her husband Dan, who is President and CEO of the Manhattan based national not-for-profit, National Development Council, maintained a residence in NYC. She enjoyed trying new restaurants and attending theater on and off Broadway. On summer mornings when they would become available, Leslie would often get up early and stroll down the block to be first in line for tickets to the summer-long free performances of Shakespeare at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.
Leslie enjoyed her pets and had a particular fondness for the dachshund including one called Beano who learned to sing along with her and Dan. In 2002 the trio, along with Allison, traveled to NYC for a pet-products sponsored singing dog contest. Unfortunately, Beano did not win the competition held at Lincoln Center’s Allice Tully Hall. But their appearance on the Regis and Kelly show with Beano howling along to “Singing in the Rain”, on a stage they shared with Lyle Lovett and his Large Band, was a nice consolation prize.
By far her proudest achievement in these last few years was becoming a grandmother - a gift of both of her grown children. Leslie retired in anticipation of her first grandchild eager to perform nanny duties and transitioned gracefully into her life’s most satisfying role of “Mumsy.” Andrea and Eloise were her cherished “girls”. In the two short years she had with them she lovingly devoted herself to their care. She thoroughly enjoyed knitting them sweaters, buying them matching dresses and planning activities to entertain them. But her beautiful girls were happiest just sitting in her lap.
In her community Leslie gave generously of her time as a dedicated volunteer to many and diverse causes. Perhaps nowhere was that on display more than the annual La Tavola dinners to benefit the Mashpee Chamber of Commerce. Leslie planned and sold tickets for the outdoor Italian feast enjoyed by hundreds of diners. Donning her black and white uniform and red apron, Leslie could be found dashing between tables serving wine and salad and entrees to the delight of the guests.
Leslie frequently lent her organizational acuity and financial savvy to many Cape Cod not-for-profits from the Cahoon Museum of American Art to Falmouth Academy, where she is recognized as a Trustee Emeritus. Leslie was a founding board member for both the Cape Cod Free Clinic and Children’s Museum of Cape Cod. She also served on the board of directors for the Cape and Islands Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Mashpee Chamber of Commerce, and the Mashpee Community Concert Committee.
But her most ardent support was to the Friends of the Mashpee Library. She began volunteering at the old library and helped through the library’s transition into the 22,000 square foot Mashpee Public Library built in 2010. Leslie was instrumental in establishing Friends of Mashpee Library’s first endowment and was an invaluable resource to the group of passionate volunteers raising money to support library services.
Besides her husband, Leslie is survived by her son, Graham Andrew Marsh, his wife Jessica Snyder and granddaughter Andrea Lee Marsh of Woburn, Ma.; her daughter Allison Kenley Kelly, her husband Jed Kelly and granddaughter Eloise Pinkerton Kelly of Newburyport, Ma.; her sisters Linda Olson and her husband Wayne Olson of Ventura Calif., Bonnie Zijic of Manhattan, NY; a brother James Czekala and his wife Michele of Alexander, NY; and her beloved dachshund “Gipper.”
A celebration of Leslie’s life is being planned for a later date.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations may be made to the Friends of Mashpee Library, P.O. Box 900, Mashpee, MA 02649.