Clark County tutor known for doing ‘what he could until the very end’

Richard "Rick" Leslie Jr. was a tutor and board member at the Clark County Literacy Center. He passed away on Sept. 15.
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Richard "Rick" Leslie Jr. was a tutor and board member at the Clark County Literacy Center. He passed away on Sept. 15.

The Clark County community is mourning the loss of a long-time resident, literacy tutor and community leader who touched the lives of many.

Richard “Rick” Leslie Jr., 54, of Springfield died from kidney failure on Tuesday, Sept. 15 after being ill for many years.

“Rick came to Springfield because he was having some health issues and his work load was diminished and he wanted to do something helpful for the community," Clark County Literacy Coalition Executive Director David Smiddy said.

Leslie was a 1984 graduate of Kenton Ridge High School, who earned his B.A. from Wittenberg University and his J.D. from the University of Dayton.

He was also a tutor at the Clark County Literacy Coalition for four years and a member of the organization’s board of directors for about three years.

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Smiddy said that Leslie came to the literacy center two times a week to tutor an adult student.

“He wanted to help an adult that was struggling and help that adult capture the fire of reading and how it enriches your life," Smiddy added.

He explained that Leslie not only helped the student gain proficiency in literacy, but also a better self-esteem and self-awareness.

“Rick took the approach that ‘I can’t do a lot, but I can do something significant,’" Smiddy said.

When Leslie was ill and needed to be absent from the center, Smiddy said he continued to check on his student.

“He did what he could until the very end,” Smiddy said.

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Leslie, an alumni of Leadership Clark County, served several years on the organization’s Amazing Race and Curriculum Committees.

“We are saddened by the passing of LCC Alumni, Rick Leslie,” Leadership Clark County said in a post on their Facebook page.

“Rick will be greatly missed by Leadership Clark County and the community,” the post added.

Leslie was also the manager of an administrative practice for the consulting firm of Clemans-Nelson in Dublin and a frequent lecturer at The Ohio State University.

His mother, Norma Leslie, described him as a lawyer who was “very quiet and very humble." She said he was an avid reader who enjoyed books about military history.

Leslie is survived by his mother, sister, brother-in-law and nieces. He was preceded in death by his father in 2007.

The family held a private graveside service at Ferncliff Cemetery, according to his obituary.

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