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Founder Of Leslie Office Supply Dies At Age 80 After Long Illness

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Founder of Leslie Office Supply dies at age 80 after long illness

■ Grace Patrick Leslie enjoyed professional life, time with young people.



AUG 29 1998

Grace Patrick Leslie was a novel thinker and a woman ahead of her time, says her son, Dale Leslie.

Grace Leslie, who, with her husband, Richard Dale Leslie, founded Leslie Office Supply Inc. in Ann Arbor, died Friday after a long illness. She was 80.

“She was very proud of the fact that she was able to work professionally. She worked pretty much her whole life. That, in her day, was quite forward thinking,” Dale Leslie says.

Grace and Richard Leslie founded their office supply store in 1961. The store, at 2231 W. Liberty St., was sold to DBI Business Interiors of Lansing in 1997.

Grace Leslie was secretary-treasurer of the store and remained active in the business until her illness.

His mother had good business sense and intuition, Dale Leslie says.

Besides having an active professional life, his mother took a strong interest in young people.

“Really, there were just a whole lot of young people who had their first jobs at Leslie Office Supply,” he says. Dale Leslie himself was president of the company when it was sold.

As he grew up, the family often had people living with them, he says. One of those people was Garvin Smith, now fire chief in Superior Township, whose wife was a niece to Grace Leslie.

“She was a very capable lady and a very outgoing, animated person,” Smith says. “She loved to talk and tell stories.”

While she was a member of many business organizations, she tended to stay in the background in those, her son says. However, doing historical research, he discovered that she had been president of the Women’s Society of Christian Service at the Dixboro United Methodist Church in the early days of her marriage.

Grace Leslie was bom Dec. 23, 1917, in Ingham County’s White Oak Township to Daniel and Grace Conklin Patrick. She married Richard Leslie in 1940.

Born Grace Lucretia Patrick, his mother decided to use her maiden name as a middle name, Dale Leslie says.

Besides her husband and son, Grace Leslie is survived by two grandsons and three sisters. She was preceded in death by a son, Patrick, in 1947, as well as by two sisters and one brother.

A memorial service is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1914 Greenview Ave. Memorial contributions can be made to the Westminster Presbyterian Church or to the Glacier Hills Retirement Center.