By L.A. Times / Legacy.com
Philip Leslie, founder of Leslie’s Swimming Pool Supplies, died on April 5, 2022, with his wife Lila and his son Andy at his side, at the age of 87.
Leslie grew up in the Hollywood Hills, attending Blessed Sacrament and Notre Dame High School. After a year at Loyola Marymount University, he was eager for entrepreneurial adventures, and he started with delivering chlorine. In 1954, Leslie volunteered for military service and was stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington.
Upon his return to Los Angeles, Leslie started Leslie’s Swimming Pool Supplies with just $900. Hard work, agile thinking, and with a talent for choosing the right people, he grew the business into 65 stores across the San Fernando Valley and the nation.
A blind date with a visitor from Germany changed Leslie’s life and within a year of meeting her, he married Lila Linke on October 22, 1970, in her hometown of Sporke, Germany.
Leslie’s greatest pride and joy were their three boys, Phil Jr. (1971-2017), Andy, and Matt (1975-2016) and the home they made for them in Woodland Hills and then Tarzana.
Leslie was also a 'work father' to his Leslie’s employees, often supporting them in their own ventures.
The son of Helen and Phil Leslie, he survived siblings Ann, Jane, and Suzi, but was far more than a cousin or uncle to dozens of Moloney, Kaplan, Coombs, Richwood, Leslie, Linke and Kluge relations.
But he was 'Poppy' to just one special person: Andy's daughter Alexa. She made Leslie’s retirement active and fun: hiking, fishing, playing checkers, the two shared a unique bond.
Always active, fit, and healthy, he succumbed only to a battle with Parkinson's Disease. Grateful for a few weeks of home hospice, and a strong leader to the end, Phil Leslie did it his way.
Innovating his industry, inventing and patenting products, growing careers, and loved by his employees, he made the name Leslie synonymous with clean swimming. He always shared the credit for his success with his people — but rarely shared the fact that he never learned to swim. Leslie's life was celebrated at St. Mel's Parish on April 23rd.