Helen Leslie

Obituary of Helen Krauss Leslie

Helen Krauss Leslie died on January 18, 2022, at the age of 100, in her home in St. Petersburg, FL.  She was born in Newark, NJ, on April 7, 1921, and moved with her family to Florida in 1923.  She had been a resident of St. Petersburg since 1929.  She attended Lakewood Grammar School, Southside Junior High, St. Petersburg High School, St. Petersburg College and was a proud graduate of Auburn University. 


Mrs. Leslie was President and owner of K&W Supply House, a wholesale heating and air conditioning supply company.  She was active in business and civic organizations at the local, state, national and international levels.


She served on the Board of Directors of the St. Petersburg College Foundation, Auburn’s Harbert College of Business, Home Federal Savings Bank as well as Barnett Bank of Pinellas County.   She was a member of the local Chamber of Commerce and served on the Advisory Committee for Vocational, Technical and Adult Education for Pinellas County.  She served on the Florida Commission on the Status of Women, the Florida Textbook Evaluation Committee,  and chaired the Florida Elections Commission.


At the national level, Mrs. Leslie served as chair of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Service, as a member of the National Advisory Council for the Small Business Administration and on the Board of Visitors for Air University at Maxwell Air Force base. 


The challenges she encountered pursuing studies and a career in a technical field led to her passion for education and for helping women thrive personally and professionally.  She joined the Business & Professional Women’s Club (BPW)  and ultimately rose to serve as president of the national organization with membership numbering 165,000.   Her work with BPW led her to chair an international Congress of Business and Professional Women of the Americas, and to work to organize BPW chapters in central and South American countries. 


In 1965, Mrs. Leslie was invited by the West German Government to visit and promote international understanding.  That same year, she received a Certificate of Achievement from the American Bureau for Medical Aid to China for her outstanding service.


She was dearly loved by her family and friends, and was an inspiration to women and business leaders along with all who met her in the community and beyond. 


Mrs. Leslie was preceded in death by her husband of 27 years, Wendell W. Leslie, and her brother, Otto E. Krauss, Jr..  She is survived by her nieces Alice Krauss, Helen Krauss and Debbie Houghton.


A private memorial service will be held at a later date.  If you are inclined to make a donation in her memory, please consider the Auburn University Foundation, 317 South College St., Auburn AL 36849, or the St. Petersburg College Foundation, P O Box 13489, St. Petersburg FL 33733. 




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