Ron Davidson Leslie, 75, was born April 27, 1937 in Wichita, Kansas. He passed away June 26, 2012 following a courageous 12-year battle with Alzheimer’s. Ron will be dearly missed but always remembered as a loving husband and father with a great sense of humor.
Ron grew up in Wichita, Kansas where he graduated from East high school. He attended Kansas State University on a gymnastics scholarship and was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity. With an economics degree from K-State Ron headed to The University of Kansas for his M.B.A.
Ron was preceded in death by his parents, Howard and Vivian Leslie. He is survived by his wife & best friend of 50 years Juanita, whom he met at K-State; his daughter Lisa Farmer of Overland Park; and daughter Lori (Michael) Funkey of Prairie Village. Ron and Juanita have five beautiful grandchildren: Brett, Paige, Lindsey, Megan and Madeline. Sister Karen (Tom) Termin of Mesquite, Texas.
Ron loved golf and was fortunate to have played many of the historic courses in the US and abroad. Some of Ron’s golf achievements included: 1st Runner Up at the 1983 Bob Hope Desert Classic and 1985 Pro-Am Winner at the Atlanta Golf Classic. In 1997 Ron was invited to attend the 32nd Ryder Cup Matches held at the Valderrama Golf Club in Sotogrande Spain courtesy of the Pepsi-Cola Company and enjoyed a ride home on the Concorde with The Ryder Cup Team.
A voracious reader, who often read two or three books at a time enjoying biographies, World War II history and stories of the Mafia, Ron also loved music and spent many hours listening to jazz, big band and bluegrass. Ron was a member of the Kansas City, Missouri Rotary Club 13, the Mercury Club of Kansas City, Missouri, and numerous other finance and charity organizations. He was a KSU Foundation Emeritus Trustee.
Ron spent 18 years at AMC Entertainment, Inc. working his way up to President and Chief Operating Officer. He left AMC for Warner Brothers and built theatres all over Europe. Returning to the States, Ron and some partners bought a portion of the Commonwealth Theater chain, renamed it First International Theaters and began growing operations in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Arkansas. Possessing a keen sense for opportunity, Ron built profitable theatres in abandoned Wal-Marts, and shopping centers. Eventually his chain grew to over 100 screens before the he sold to Carmike Cinemas. Ron’s final venture involved partnering up with a Hollywood studio producer to build Resort Theaters of America. Ron often commented on how lucky he was to have enjoyed such a successful career in an industry he truly loved. Those close to Ron know that he created his own luck with his fierce drive, tremendous optimism and great persistence.
A visitation service will be held Friday June 29th from 6 – 8 pm at D.W. Newcomer’s Sons 11200 Metcalf, Overland Park, KS 66210, 913-451-1860. The funeral service will be Saturday June 30th 1pm at St. Thomas the Apostle 12251 Antioch Rd, Overland Park, Kansas 66213, 913-451-0512. Graveside services will be held at the Wamego City Cemetery in Wamego, Kansas on Monday, July 2, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association – Heart of America Chapter, 3846 W 75th St Prairie Village, Kansas 66208 or Vitas Hospice, 13316 West 98th Street Lenexa, KS 66215. Local services are entrusted with the Stewart Funeral of Wamego. Online condolences may also be left at www.stewartfuneralhomes.com.