Remembering Leslie Forehand

The Foothills branch of the NCAR Library has lost its familiar face and driving force with the passing of Leslie Forehand, who died on February 16 after battling ovarian cancer.

Leslie was the friendly face that greeted staff and visitors at the NCAR Library's Foothills branch. She first came to the organization as a volunteer in 1986, just after finishing a master's degree in library science at the University of Denver. She soon joined the Library staff as a cataloger and eventually became head of public services and reference, providing valuable instruction in the use of the Library’s many resources.

“Leslie had a love affair with this institution, and we loved her back," says Mary Marlino (director, NCAR Library). "She loved the mission, the people, and the service. No request was too big or too small."

"She focused so much on giving personalized service to all the Library's users," says Karon Kelly (former Library director), who originally hired Leslie. "She was drawn to librarianship because she was interested in helping people find the information they needed."

HAO scientist Keith MacGregor credits Leslie for helping smooth the transition when HAO's individual library was integrated with the NCAR Library in the mid-1990s. "Leslie was the person who everybody in HAO went to for assistance with any kind of library-related questions," he says. "She really became a part of the observatory over the years. Directly and indirectly, she had an impact on a lot of people around here."

Leslie also managed the art program at the Library’s Foothills location, which provided opportunities for staff and local artists to showcase their work. She was an artist in her own right—a master of crafting, quilting, and knitting. She founded the Fair Weather Quilters, a group of NCAR & UCAR staff who dedicated their craft to supplying quilts to needy newborns

"Leslie thought that it would be fun to get a group of people together to learn quilting techniques, and we all liked the idea of making quilts for newborns," says Ingrid Moore (COSMIC), adding that Leslie had a quiet way of influencing people. "She was never pushy, but when she had an idea, she'd pursue it and make it happen."

Leslie especially enjoyed spending time in the mountains. "There was a side to her that was very adventurous," Mary notes. She was a member of the Colorado Mountain Club whose adventures included hiking Longs Peak and whitewater rafting. She stayed fit at Longmont Recreation Center and loved to dance. She also studied local flora and fauna and was a local history buff, volunteering at Walker Ranch's annual heritage days.

"Leslie's philosophy was that she wanted to try something new every year," Ingrid says.

Ingrid and Bobbie Weaver (NESL/MMM) took the lead in organizing UCAR/NCAR staff to assist Leslie in her fight against cancer, arranging volunteers to drive her to medical appointments and keep her fridge stocked. Thirty-nine present and former UCAR/NCAR staff participated. "It was a testament to how well Leslie was thought of," Ingrid says.

Leslie was preceded in death by her former husband, Ron. She is survived by her son, Ryan, of Longmont; daughter Kimberly, of North Carolina; and four grandchildren.

Staff wishing to share memories of Leslie can sign a memory book that will be presented to her family during Library Week in April. Copies are at both the Mesa Lab and Foothills library branches.