Jane Leslie Newberry, Bainbridge Island, died on June 27, 2018, of ovarian cancer. She was 67.
Jane Leslie spent her early years on the family farm in south-central Kentucky. In addition to her immediate family, Jane Leslie was surrounded by a tight-knit clan of aunts, uncles, and cousins — most of whom had been or were public school teachers.
At the rural school she attended for all twelve grades, foreign languages were rarely offered. However, a brief introduction to French in eighth grade prompted her to major in French in college, with minors in Russian and Spanish. She later took classes in Hungarian, Latin, German, Arabic and Romanian — for fun!
Jane Leslie was a born traveler. She would eventually visit 49 states and six provinces. Her first trip outside North America came a few months after her college graduation when she packed her bags for a year-long position as an English-teaching assistant in two high schools in Bordeaux, France. She later found great satisfaction in assisting other college students from Kentucky explore their own options for living, working and studying abroad.
She thought planning a trip was as much fun as actually taking the trip. She once spent several snowy Saturdays in the lodge at Snoqualmie Pass poring over guidebooks for a summer family trip while her family skied. She had no doubt she got the better end of the deal.
Jane Leslie had many jobs during her working life — teacher, secretary, university administrator, lawyer, baker — but the one she enjoyed the most was as parent to Eli.
Survivors locally include her sweetheart of 30 years, Tom Backer; their child, Eli Backer; long-time neighbors Reijnen, Yentzer, Ruzumna, Lindsay, Bauch and Atkinson; goddaughter, Julia Holmlund Thompson, and her family; and friends at the Downtown Seattle YMCA, especially members of the Pedaling for Parkinson’s class.
Remembrances, if desired, may be made to Childhaven, 316 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122; or the Downtown YMCA, 909 Fourth Ave., Seattle, WA 98104.