DENVER, Colo. - Professor Leslie Leifer passed away on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, in Denver, Colo., after a period of illness, with family in attendance.
He was 83 years old and had been a Professor of Physical Chemistry at Michigan Technological University for much of his career.
He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Leifer; his son and daughter-in-law, Andrew and Carla Leifer of Evergreen, Colo.; his two grandchildren.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Dr. Leifer studied chemistry at the City College of New York then did graduate studies at the University of Kansas where he met his future wife, Elizabeth. After beginning his university career in Boston, Mass., he came to the Copper Country in 1965 as a Full Professor at Michigan Tech.
He brought with him an Atomic Energy Commission research grant which was renewed during his tenure at Michigan Tech. His outstanding teaching there impacted the lives of his students and he is remembered fondly by many.
Active in the Faculty Senate, he advocated for those who dedicated their work life to teaching students at Michigan Tech.
Recipient of the Faculty Research Award on multiple occasions and the Distinguished Faculty Award prior to retirement, Dr. Leifer worked collaboratively with research faculty from around the world. He held a number of patents as a result of his research including one for a thermal storage material known as "room temperature ice."
More recently he was involved in the development of an Active Thermal Energy Storage System which he hoped would reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil in the future.
Passionate about intellect, Dr. Leifer expressed a thirst for knowledge. He relished learning new and unique phrases in many languages. He was involved in local nordic ski races and often served as official race timer for these events, consistent with his love of math. He served as faculty advisor to the Michigan Tech Cross Country Ski Team, travelling to meets and helping with equipment purchases.
Mathematical puzzles and Jeopardy-style quiz games offered pleasure to the very end of his life.
In recent years, Dr. Leifer had spent much time in Denver, Colo., to be close to his family and to his grandchildren. He was devoted to his family and strove to make them comfortable in the world.
He will be remembered for his warm sense of humor, ability to make others laugh and to facilitate their looking inward.
Private services with interment in Golden, Colo., and a Memorial Service scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 14 will be held.
Memorials may be directed to Willa's Wheels at willaswheels.blacktie-athon.com/Carla_Hammer/ the T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia Cancer and AIDS Research or to the American Cancer Society.