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Leslie M Baylor

August 14, 1926 - February 27, 2022

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Leslie M. Baylor, Associate Professor Emeritus of English at SD School of Mines and Technology, passed away at Westhills Village Healthcare on February 27, 2022. The only child of Florence Louella (Frost) and H. Kelsye Baylor, Les was born in Sublette, Illinois, on August 14, 1926. He lived on the family farm in Lee County until his family moved to Freeport, Illinois, where he started first grade. His secondary education was accelerated so he could enroll at Northwestern University prior to graduating from high school. His studies were interrupted when he was called to serve in WWII. On May 22, 1945, while on leave after completing basic training, he married his high school sweetheart, Mary E. Young. He attained the rank of technical sergeant before his honorable discharge from the U. S. Army in 1946. Les returned to Northwestern to complete his undergraduate degree and continued to pursue advanced degrees in theology, biology and English in Colorado and Idaho. Les never lost his appetite for learning and he spent countless hours with a book in his hand. While he spent a quarter of a century teaching science and engineering students to craft the written word, he was also dedicated to sharing his knowledge about ornithology and the natural sciences. His summers were devoted to his large vegetable garden, his apple-cider trees and to the study of bird populations in northwest South Dakota and the Black Hills. In retirement, Les and Mary enjoyed traveling and adding species to their birding life list. They eventually adopted southern Arizona as a winter home. Les was a member of the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society, was an active board member of The Center for Western Studies at Augustana University and a member of its National Advisory Council. He was also a long-standing member and past-president of the South Dakota Ornithologists’ Union. Les passed his appreciation for the natural world to his children, Duane A. and Clare (Basler) Baylor of Ralston, NE; Marnie L. and Michael Gould of Rapid City, SD; and Nancy L. Baylor-Taylor and Bruce Taylor of Federal Way, WA. He was cherished by his granddaughters Kelsye Gould, Aisling Gould and Lindsay Taylor. He was preceded in death by his wife Mary in 2007. A private family memorial service for Les will be held later this summer. Those wishing to commemorate his life may contribute in his honor to the Rapid City Youth and Family Services Garden Education Program or to the Mary E. Baylor Scholarship at the SD Ornithologists’ Union.

 
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