James Leslie, Born Danville, Illinois, April 13, 1911, Passed
away September 2 at home at the age of 93. Parents were Benjamin
Franklin Leslie, and Lucy Keller Leslie. Preceded in death by his
sisters Dorothy, Helen, Eva, Mary and brother Robert Joseph. He is
survived by Carolyn, his wife of 48 years, daughter Jeanine, sons
Scott and James, six grandchildren, and sister Mary Elizabeth Grime.
The Le slie family moved to southern California in 1913, settling in
Glendale. Donald went to Glendale schools, and graduated from
Glendale Union High School in 1929. Acquired knowledge in mechanics,
radio, electronics, metals while working at various jobs, including
employment at Naval Research Laboratories in Washington D.C. during
WWII. Had considerable interest in music, mostly piano and pipe
At the introduction of the Hammond Organ in
the early thirties, he invented a unique speaker system, which was
called the "Leslie Speaker". used on Hammond and other
electronic organs by which he became rather famous worldwide. He
established Electro Music, in Pasadena and manufactured the Leslie
Speaker there for over forty years. CBS acquired his company in
1965, and it became one of the first units of CBS Musical
Instruments. The popularity of his speaker invention earned him
several awards, including one from Hammond in 1978 that stated
"Donald J. Leslie - In recognition of his outstanding
contribution and dedication in making the Hammond-Leslie sound
responsible for creating the organ industry". This speaker
invention led to about fifty patents in the musical field, some of
which changed the way in which some music was presented.
Other patents awarded to him included radio
control of model trains, control and chlorination systems for
swimming pools. He was a long time resident of Pasadena, and
Altadena, and a member of Annandale Golf Club for many years. His
hobbies included Tennis, Music, Model railroads, and Flying private
aircraft around the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Family and friends are welcome for a
celebration of life for Don at the Leslie residence in Altadena
Saturday, September 11th beginning at 4:30. In lieu of flowers,
contributions in Don's memory can be made to the American Diabetes
Association, P.O. Box 1132, Fairfax, VA 22038-1132.
CABOT & SONS, PASADENA DIRECTORS
text Published in the Pasadena Star-News on 9/5/2004.