Dr. Leo LeSage of Boulder, CO died suddenly in his home July 6, 2022. He was 87 years old. Leo was born in Concordia, KS on April 15, 1935 to Leo (Jake) and Margaret LeSage. He attended elementary school through high school in Concordia and remained friends with some of these classmates his whole life. In summers and after school Leo worked for his father’s upholstery business, in particular installing awnings. His family was well known in Concordia because his dog, Tim, rode around town on the top of their car barking. Right after the second world war, when tires and gasoline became available, his family drove to see two national parks in the western U.S. It was the first time he had seen mountains and he thought they were wonderful. Leo never tired of the mountains. He attended the University of Kansas in Lawrence on a Navy ROTC scholarship and graduated with a degree in Engineering Physics. Leo enjoyed the camaraderie of his brothers at the Sigma Nu fraternity and made lifelong friendships. During his senior year Leo met the love of his life, Carolyn Bailey. They were married the summer of 1958 and began their life together in the Washington, DC area while Leo completed his commitment to the Navy. Leo was assigned to Admiral Rickover’s staff in the Naval Reactors Branch. This began his interest in nuclear power. During these four years Leo and Carolyn enjoyed exploring and learning about the DC area. After the Navy, Leo attended Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA and earned a PhD in Nuclear Engineering. Leo and Carolyn, again, enjoyed learning about this area of California and gained new friendships that remain today. Upon graduation, Leo accepted a position at Argonne National Laboratory in the Chicago suburbs and enjoyed 33 years there. In the nuclear energy field Leo had a long and distinguished career culminating as a Director of several programmatic divisions at Argonne. He had also attained the position of Senior Scientist at the Laboratory and made many technical contributions to the fast reactor technology field. He was the designated U.S. representative to the International Committee responsible for developing a long term solution to the stabilization of the site following the 1986 Chernobyl reactor accident. He also co-organized two NATO Advanced Research Workshops on Russian Nuclear Submarine Decommissioning. In 1987, Leo was honored as a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society. As an employee of Argonne, Leo was chosen to attend the MBA Executive Program at the University of Chicago and relished this new academic area. He also represented Argonne on the University of Illinois Engineering School Advisory Board. In 1967, Leo and Carolyn moved into their house of 50 years located in Naperville, IL. Their time in Naperville is some of Leo’s most treasured. He joined Rotary International and was very active in his church, Wesley United Methodist, chairing numerous committees. His many friendships included tennis and golf buddies. When Carolyn suggested it was time to move into a retirement community, Leo dragged his heels, not ready to leave all those he loved in Naperville. Once Leo retired, in the summer of 1998, it was hard to track him down. Leo and Carolyn began traveling – two to four trips a year, both international and domestic. Someone recently asked which countries Leo had visited. His daughter, Marietta, replied, “It might be easier to list where he hasn’t visited!”. During his travels Leo picked up a love of wine and visited many wine regions around the world. Back at home it became a fun challenge to find a good bottle of wine for $15 or less! In addition to travel, Leo enjoyed serving on the University of Kansas Engineering School Advisory Board. In 1997, he received their “Distinguished Engineering Service Award”. In 2017, Leo and Carolyn moved into the Frasier Retirement Community in Boulder, CO with a view of the mountains and 20 minutes from their daughter, Annette. Despite his earlier reservations about leaving Naperville, Leo became ensconced in the Frasier community. He quickly accepted the invitation to join a men’s group “The Geezers” and cherished their lively current events discussions. In response to the warm welcome he felt as a new member of the Frasier community, Leo took on the role of Guide ensuring future new residents felt just as welcome. He also co-chaired the Buildings and Grounds committee. Despite his serious profession, Leo was well known for his sense of humor, joke telling, infectious laugh and superb recall of random historical facts. One of his favorite topics was college basketball, especially since KU was regularly in the top 10. He enjoyed watching all sports. Some of this sports passion rubbed off on Annette and the two of them enjoyed attending baseball games, both Rockies and Cubs. Leo was a cherished husband. He and Carolyn shared 64 years of marital bliss. Leo was a beloved father. He encouraged his girls to do their best and pursue their passion. Leo was an adored grandpa. He delighted in playing with his grandsons, whether it was pickleball, swimming, board games, or Mario Kart. Leo is survived by his wife, Carolyn LeSage; two daughters, Annette (Joe Gruba) and Marietta (Emmanuel Probst), and three grandsons Josh, Theo, and Etienne. Memorial services will be held in both Colorado and Illinois. Friday, September 23rd, 2:00 pm at Frasier 350 Ponca Pl, Boulder CO Sunday, September 25th, 2:00 pm at Wesley United Methodist Church 12 E Franklin Ave., Naperville IL. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to: The Wild Animal Sanctuary of Keenesburg, CO https://www. wildanimalsanctuary.org/ The Caring for Others Fund at Frasier of Boulder, CO https://www. frasiermeadows.org/donate/ or United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) https://umcmission.org/
Published by The Daily Camera on Sep. 18, 2022.
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