Deceased September 13, 2019
It was 1951 when Les began his journey at Amherst, where he majored in economics, played football and was captain of the ice hockey team. He was a member of Sphinx and was president of both his class and the Beta fraternity. While at Amherst, Les also met his wife of 64 years, Deb Hazzard (Mount Holyoke ’55).
Following a two-year stint in the U.S. Army, Les began his medical career by attending Western Reserve Medical School, where he pursued orthopedic surgery, becoming a world-renowned scholar in scoliosis. His career focused on patient care, clinical research and teaching and took him worldwide. Among his many achievements in the field, he developed the first spinal cord monitoring system, which transformed spine surgery. Les was a leader locally and internationally, becoming president of Scoliosis Research Society in 1982, chairing the Musculoskeletal Committee at the Department of Surgery at CWRU, founding the Rainbow Spine Center and chairing departments at St. Luke’s Hospital and Metrohealth. He also earned a degree in medical education in 1975.
When not practicing medicine, Les pursued his many passions, including golf, bridge, skiing, sailing and music. He was an ardent supporter of the local arts, including Cleveland Opera and Apollo’s Fire. In addition to his numerous research publications, he was a prolific poet, penning more than 300 poems. Les worked tirelessly to support all of his schools in many alumni roles.
Les loved his wife, Deb; their three children, Liz ’81, Doug ’86 and Kelly; their spouses; their eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. The Amherst ties run deep as, to date, the family boasts eight Amherst alumni.
More recently, Les split his time between Cleveland and Boca Grande, Fla., where he continued to be involved in many activities. Les died Sept. 13.
Liz Nash Patterson ’81, Douglas Nash ’86 and Kelly Nash Quinn