William Michael ‘Bill’ Leslie


William Michael ‘Bill’ Leslie


Bill Leslie
Bill Leslie

William Michael ‘Bill’ Leslie died of a heart attack on Sunday, April 19 at the place he loved, Red Lodge, with his wife, Claire by his side. Bill was born on May 2, 1935 in Denver, CO to Albert Jacob Leslie and Clara (Thompson).  He was raised in Denver with his older brother, Albert ‘Bert’, Jr.

Bill graduated from East High school in 1953 and attended the University of Colorado where he played football for the Colorado Buffalo and met his future wife, Claire Ward. Transferring to the University of Denver, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.  Bill’s love of finance and management began at DU.

Bill and Claire married June 20, 1956 at Holy Name church in New Orleans, LA.  They were married for 58 years.  After college Bill worked for Ideal Cement Company which brought his young family to Billings in 1957.  Bill purchased Hitz Construction Company in 1967 which became Quality Concrete.  He then founded Billings Brick and Masonry, Cody Brick and Masonry, Rocky Mountain Concrete Products and Mineral Specialties. It was in creating and developing these companies that he spent his working years.

Bill enjoyed playing handball at the YMCA, bicycling with his friends, and spending time at the family cabin in Red Lodge surrounded by his dearest friends and family. Travel to all corners of the globe gave Bill and Claire the opportunity to visit all seven continents.  After retirement, he took up golf with a passion, which both delighted and frustrated him equally.  He was a member of Hilands Golf Club.  The famous family game nights were never a place where Bill shined.  He suffered through many games of charades, which gave his entire family hours of laughter.  Bill’s passionate past time was in the stock market, a game he studied and dearly loved.  His “Buy Low, Sell High” finance club was open only to his children and grandchildren who proclaimed him the omnipotent investor.

He is survived by Claire; his children Michael of New York City, Mitchell (Marcy) of Helena, and Julia (George Warmer) of Billings.  Bill or Papa as he was loving known, always felt blessed by his children and grandchildren: Mick (Melanie), Dallas (Dawn), Bobby (Sarah), David, Fiona, Xela, Mary, Siobhan, Ann, Sarah, Jacob, Elizabeth and his great granddaughter, Willamina.

Preceding him in death were his parents and his brother, Bert.

A Vigil service will be held Sunday, April 26, at 4pm at Michelloti-Sawyers, 1001 Alderson Avenue.  Funeral mass will be held at St. Thomas the Apostle Church on Monday at 10:00 am.  A luncheon will be held at St. Thomas immediately following the mass.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Billings YMCA, the Billings Library Foundation, the Billings Food Bank or the organization of your choice.

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0 thoughts on “William Michael ‘Bill’ Leslie”

  1. Katie McCracken

    It is with great sadness that I learned about Bill’s sudden death. However, the fond memories and the joy and laughter he would bring to all of us overshadow the sadness of his death. He, as well as Claire, Julia, Mitch and Michael were an important part of our “extended” family with Thanksgivings, Christmas Eves and cabin area parties. I will always remember Bill with all of his enthusiasm and always a kind word to all! Bill, you will truly be missed! Katie McCracken

  2. Terry W Bass Helena

    Bill was always very kind and generous to me. May he rest in peace and God give all his family his blessing.

  3. I was shocked to hear of Bill’s passing. My condolences to the family. Bill was always so vibrant and full of life. I will forever remember my times with Bill: me teaching him about the computer and him trying to educate me on the stock market! We also had great discussions on politics. We solved quite a few of the worlds problems … if only we could have gotten somebody to listen to us! Carry on Bill! Darrin Miller

  4. bonnie mccracken

    A few of us are lucky enough to have not only our biological family- but an extended family, which for me includes the Leslie’s. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve included time with the Leslie’s as well as other “core” families. Ski trips and “death march” hikes were part of life and fun. This leaves me with such wonderful memories of Bill’s laughter and his words of encouragement when things were tough. His presence with this family- he was always with Claire or someone other member- delighted to be with them.
    Bill- you will be missed more than you know. I think the greatest gift you left your family with is all the times of laughter and joy. I feel lucky to have those memories too.

  5. Connie and Gordon

    Claire and family, to am so sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. Being neighbors we would always say hi or wave in passing. He will certainly be missed. My prayers are with the family. May the Lord bless you.

  6. Bill was a wonderful man. We loved seeing him at the Y and our whole gang is sad about his passing. He was a bright light and we will miss him.
    Peace to you and God Bless

    Jim Strecker and the Y members

  7. Oh, Clair, Julia and family, I was so shocked to hear of Bill’s death at church tonight. I am SO incredibly sorry for your loss. He was always so sweet to our family, and showed a genuine interest in all of our happenings!! We will be holding your family up in prayer!! Many hugs … Kathy Dostal and family

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