Life Story / Obituary
Leslie Wessman, age 84, of Holland, Michigan died after a prolonged illness. She was preceded in death by her parents, Leslie and Marjorie Parsons, and her husband, Robert Wessman. She is survived by her sister Lucy Butcher, brother Jeff Parsons, son Dylan Wessman, and granddaughters Katie and Lily Wessman.
Leslie graduated from Natrona County High School in Casper, Wyoming (1956) and The University of Wyoming (BA 1960). She earned master's degrees from Northwestern University (MA 1966) and California State University Fullerton (MS 1975) and a doctoral degree from Michigan State University (PhD 1988).
Leslie was a lifelong educator. She served as a high school teacher and administrator in Wyoming, Colorado, California, Rhode Island, and Hawaii. Leslie then served as executive director of the Michigan Out-of-Formula School District Association in Lansing, MI.
In 1990, Leslie joined the Department of Education at Hope College, where she spent 15 fruitful years as a professor and 7 years as department chairperson. She taught courses in educational psychology, language arts, and instructional design as well as a senior seminar entitled “Education and Christian Ways of Living.” In 2005, Leslie retired as the Arnold and Esther Sonneveldt Professor Emerita of Education.
Leslie served as co-founder and director of the Midwest Brain & Learning Institute from 2000 to 2015. The Institute organized a week-long summer conference in Holland, MI and online courses through Hope College that applied research findings from Neuroscience to enhance teaching methods in K-12 education. In 2020, the Institute established an endowed scholarship for Hope College Education majors in honor of Leslie.
Leslie also was an active member of the All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Saugatuck, MI. She was involved in many church activities, including serving as a Vestry member and leading efforts to care for the environment and to provide Christmas gifts for disadvantaged children.
Leslie was described by her peers as creative, focused, humorous, innovative, loyal, and thoughtful. She was respected as a team-builder who brought out the best in others by finding unique ways to promote each of their talents, skills, and gifts. Leslie also enjoyed cooking, gardening, reading mystery books, and hosting celebrations for family, friends, and coworkers.
Most importantly, Leslie will be remembered as a cherished bride, loving mother and grandmother, caring friend, gracious host, inspiring leader, and devoted teacher. “Have we told you lately that we love you, Leslie?” We will miss your “Magnificent Moments with Mom.”
Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be scheduled for the spring or summer. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the All Saints’ Endowment Fund, P.O. Box 189, Saugatuck, MI 49453.
Funeral arrangements are under the auspices of the Dykstra Funeral Home - Mulder Chapel.