Baker City, Oregon

Leslie Estes, 40, of Baker City, died Sept. 25, 2002, at St. Elizabeth Health Services after many years of diabetes complications.

Her funeral will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the First Church of the Nazarene, 1250 Hughes Lane. Pastor Lennie Spooner of the First Church of the Nazarene will officiate. Interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. There will be a reception afterward at the First Church of the Nazarene Fellowship Hall.

There will be a viewing for family from 4 o’clock to 8 o’clock tonight at Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave.

Leslie was born on Sept. 14, 1962, at Baker City to Roland and LaVelle Gorte. Leslie grew up in Baker City, graduating from Baker High School in 1981. She received her associate degree in business administration from Eastern Oregon University at La Grande in 1983.

After losing her sight in 1989, she moved to Portland to re-hab at the Commission for the Blind. While there she met her future husband, Mark Estes. They were in the same graduating class at Guide Dogs for the Blind at San Rafael, Calif., where she received her beloved guide dog, Durango.

Mark and Leslie were married in Baker City on July 13, 1991. They moved to Portland a short time later where Leslie worked at Vision Northwest as a support director, meeting many new friends while sharing tales of being visually handicapped. Leslie and Mark, seeking her hometown family and friends, returned to Baker City in 1997 where they had lived since.

Throughout her life, Leslie was always the caregiver of the family. She loved to lavish love and gifts on all she came in contact with. She loved children and was a counselor for handicapped children in her early teen-age years.

She taught water aerobics in Baker City and in Portland, enjoying all the friends she met at that time. She looked forward for several years to talking with Baker City’s fourth-grade students. She took her guide dog, Durango, along as she shared information with them about the life of blindness.

Survivors include her loving husband, Mark; her parents, Roland and LaVelle, and Mark’s parents, Audrey and Darrell Estes; brother, Rick, and his wife, Debbie; a sister, Lynne; brothers-in-law and their wives, Mike and Debbie and Brad and Sherry; nieces, April, Cheryl, Tia and Randi; nephews, Bryce, Trent and Zachary; three great-nieces and three great-nephews; many aunts, uncles and cousins who she treasured; plus a host of friends who were so important to her.

She was preceded in death by her grandparents and her beloved Durango.

Memorial contributions may be made to Guide Dog Inc. or the American Diabetes Association through Gray’s West & Co., P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.

Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, October 4, 2002
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor