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Helen Leslie McKay Gnaedinger ’46

A picture of (Helen) Leslie McKay Gnaedinger

Helen Leslie McKay Gnaedinger ’46, January 19, 2011, in Silverton, Idaho. Leslie earned a BA from Reed in biology with a thesis on the resident canyon salamander, Ensatina escholtzii. During her time at Reed, she was employed as a welder in the Portland shipyards and at the B-29 factory in Hoquiam, Washington, next door to her hometown, Aberdeen. As a lab instructor at Washington State College, earning a master's degree in biology, she taught Ernest Gnaedinger, a navy veteran studying premedicine; they married in 1947 and moved to Portland, where Leslie was a biological specialist for Multnomah County and Ned attended the University of Oregon Medical School. In 1952, they moved to Ned's hometown, Wallace, Idaho, where Leslie raised their family of two sons and two daughters, and Ned was a general practitioner and chief administrator for Wallace Hospital. In addition to being a loving and supportive parent, Leslie volunteered with the Shoshone County Medical Auxiliary, with Chapter X of PEO, and with the Shoshone Country Club. She read widely and variously and enjoyed discussing what she read. She also enjoyed outdoor recreation, spending many happy days at the family cabin at Killarney Lake on the Coeur d'Alene River. Ten years ago, daughter Kristi reported: “Even though she married and became a housewife, she never lost her love of biology. She was always thrilled to help us dissect whatever we brought home. She still has her love of salamanders, too. We have a few of the local variety living in our basement bathroom. She feeds them worms from her garden.” Survivors included her children, 6 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and a sister. Her husband died in 2004. Leslie's brother, Donald R. McKay ’50, also attended Reed.

Appeared in Reed magazine: June 2011

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