Recent Obituaries
In Memoriam Archive

Leslie McCune Grace ’59

May 1, 2022, in Seattle, Washington.

For her first nine years, Leslie lived on her parents’ boat moored at the Seattle Yacht Club. Subsequently the family moved to a house in the Montlake neighborhood, where Leslie attended Montlake School, Meany Middle School, and Garfield High School. She came to Reed for two years and completed her BA at Seattle Pacific University.

She taught social studies at Issaquah Junior High School for three years and dreamed of traveling the world. An idea took root when a friend idly commented to her, “Wouldn’t it be interesting to open an import shop?”

Leslie discussed the idea with her father, who loved it, and with the support of her family, in 1962 she opened what became the renowned La Tienda Folk Art Gallery in Seattle’s University District. Filled with handmade textiles, arts, and crafts from all over the world, the shop became a center for the appreciation of folk art. Through the gallery, as well as the many trips she guided to Mexico, Leslie promoted what she called “the beauty of the hand.”

Her life partner, Fred Hart, observed that Leslie “had a passion for the interaction of people’s hands with the physical objects of their lives that produced things of beauty and interest and meaning.”

She received the Mayor’s Small Business Person of the Year Award in 1989. In 1995, she sold the store to three employees, who kept the store open for another 18 years. After selling the business, Leslie continued to travel, consult, teach, and collect textiles. She was active in the Rotary Club of the University District, the Washington Commission for the Humanities, Seattle Weavers’ Guild, Seattle Textile and Rug Society, and Pangea Giving. She donated many pieces from her vast textile collection to the Burke Museum, and recently, more than 900 textiles were donated to the Mingei International Museum in San Diego. It was Leslie’s greatest wish that her life work be preserved, documented, and shared with a global audience.

She is survived by her life partner, Fred Hart, and her brother, Cal McCune.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2022

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