City of Manistee, Friends Remember Artist and Veteran Leslie Laskey

The City of Manistee will he honoring a native artist and veteran on what would have been his 100th birthday July 2.

Photo: Jim Olvera

Leslie Laskey passed away on June 17, and the City of Manistee declared July 2 Leslie Laskey day.

“His work will be here, but he won’t,” said long time friend Jamey Barnard.

Leslie laskey was a beloved manistee community member, born in 1921.

He served in the U.S. Army in World War II.

After the war, he taught architecture and design at Washington University in St. Louis.

Barnard met Laskey at a workshop he was hosting in Onekama, and remained friends with Laskey for 30 years.

“It was pretty much an honor to hear from him directly,” he said. “He had a lot of good ideas.”

Barnard says he had an eye for art unlike anyone he had known.

“He was in a friend’s fire pit and found an old hinge that was there, and that turned into a whole series that he did for a show in St. Louis,” he said.

That art was appreciated by the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts, who featured pieces of Laskey’s in 2019.

“He was really great at activating advocacy for the Ramsdell and for the art gallery that we have here,” said Executive Director Xavier Verna. “He was one of those artists that impacted so many people on so many different levels.”

Barnard said Laksey will be greatly missed by those who knew him.

“He had the love and admiration of his students that went long beyond when they were being taught by him,” said Barnard. “They were always being taught by him. He had a lot of friends, he accomplished a whole lot in his life.”