Leslie Lowell Buchholz 1940 - 2021

Leslie Lowell Buchholz passed away recently at Providence Medical Center in Spokane, Washington. He and his wife, Judy, had been visiting family and friends after a year's absence due to the pandemic. They had previously lived for 27 years in Spokane, where Les had worked and retired from Kaiser Aluminum Corporation at Brentwood.

In 2005 they decided to retire to western Oregon, closer to the ocean, near Judy's sister, and their youngest son, Mark, in Portland and his family and youngest youngest daughters. They loved life in the small community of McMinnville, Oregon, 40 miles south of Portland, right in the wine country.

He was a wonderful gardener, always having flowers wherever Kaiser transferred us, so he joined the Master Gardeners and also became active in the Garden Club. He volunteered for several projects that kept him always popular with the "ladies" and kept him smiling. The ocean was our place of comfort, just to listen to the surf was therapeutic, only 50 miles away, and it became a little retreat from everyday busyness. He and daughter, Linda, and family spent four days there in April, never knowing it would be our last trip together.

Les was born in Tripp, South Dakota, to Linda Eckert and John Buchholz. He grew up in California. At the age of 15, he lived with his sister, Junetta, and her family (Richard) and their young children. He has said throughout the years that he probably was a real challenge at that age, but they seemed to have a lot of patience (lovingly). After graduating from Pomona High School, Les went to San Jose State College, graduating in 1961, then on to OTS for the Air Force in Texas. Texas in the summer! Assigned to Beale Air Force Base in northern California, lucky for Judy, who arrived a year later, an LT nurse  assigned to the room next door to him. It wasn't quite love at first sight, but close, and they were married the following February 8, 1964. After a short six weeks of marriage, Les received orders for an assignment at Osan Air Base in South Korea for 13 months without Judy. That was quite a shock, but it was the military. So the year passed pretty much uneventfully, no emails then or cell phones, just letters. Judy completed her commitment and  Les returned; his last assignment being Washington, D.C., completing his tour as a captain. His civilian career started with Kaiser Aluminum in Newark, Ohio. It was going to be a good fit for him as a purchasing agent. We started our family, Linda, then David; Les always believed that family comes first, and he has been intensely proud of our kids.

In Ohio we ate corn; Les said it was the best corn on the cob ever. From Ohio we moved to California to Kaiser in Oakland, living in Concord, the old times where we discovered camping in the Redwoods, swimming in the Pacific, things little kids did. Kaiser Alum transferred Les to New Orleans in 1973, a real cultural change for the family. The Mississippi was not the ocean, but it was sure a huge river, and we lived below the levels, with ships passing above us. That was scary, but no floods or hurricanes during our six years there. We did, however, go crabbing in the bayous, catch beads at  Mardi Gras parades, and eat  lots of delicious food. In 1980, Les received news of an opening in Spokane for his job at Kaiser Trentwood, and this was our last and longest stay. We were greeted in March of 1980, the very year we arrived, with the volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens, an historic event that spread ash over the entire community. It was like talcum powder, something we would not forget. Spokane has four-season weather, so each season was greeted with enthusiasm like the rest of the Pacific Northwest. Family learned how to ski, Les planted more trees in the spring and a huge vegetable and flower garden. In his mid-life he bought an RX-7, the sweetest little car ever, which he just loved driving. "lt's a great deal," he said, when I mentioned we had two kids in college. "No Problem." His motto has always been: "Every day is an adventure," and he has lived it.

Les was beloved by so many. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Judy Kelley; his three children, Linda Wixom, (grandchildren, Taylor, Alex, Jordan), Bob McGuinness, (grandchild, Aiden), David Buchholz, (Gayle), grandchildren, Abby and Nick; and Mark, (Christia), grandchildren, EmiIy, Alison and Harper; sister, Junetta (Richard); niece, Jeannie (Michael); and nephew, Tom (Karen) Billy.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date


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