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Subject: Animator Leslie Gorin

Dies at 65
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Date Posted: Friday, June 07, 07:34:10am

Leslie Susan Gorin

Leslie Gorin a gifted artist and writer; enthusiastic educator; adventurous traveler and trailblazer; and devoted daughter, wife, and mother passed away one year ago today on June 10, 2018. She was 65.

Leslie grew up in Baltimore and in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, the daughter of Alice and Philip Margolin. Her trailblazing spirit manifested early when she became a member of the first coeducational entering class at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, attending the school at a time when the student body was still 80 percent male. As a student, she studied abroad in France; created her own major, which she dubbed "Education and Human Development"; and spent her senior year teaching elementary school students on the Navajo Nation in Arizona.

After graduating and spending a short time as a silversmith in Taos, New Mexico, Leslie studied animation at the California Institute of the Arts on a fellowship sponsored by the Walt Disney Company. She then embarked on a career as an animator in Southern California, working on such films as "Pete's Dragon" and "The Fox and the Hound" for Disney before moving over to Bill Melendez Studios, where she sketched iconic characters like Linus and Charlie Brown for Peanuts cartoons and specials.

After spending a year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as a Luce Scholar, Leslie returned to California, where she met and married her best friend, Allen Gorin. Allen and Leslie bonded over their shared experience as Jewish east coasters who ended up out west, their mutual adventurous spirit and nonconformity, and their shared passion for contemplating and discussing life's deepest questions.

After marrying, Allen and Leslie had two daughters, Arielle and Anna, born almost exactly two years apart. The family took up residence in a fixer-upper in suburban Thousand Oaks, California, with Allen using his skills as a general contractor to renovate the structure.

By the time her daughters reached school age, Leslie had decided to retire as an animator and embark on the next great adventure of her life: homeschooling her two children. She dove into the role with gusto, filling each day with hands-on games, puzzles, experiments, art, foreign languages, and extracurricular classes and sports. She also drew on her musical background she had picked up guitar-playing during her time in the Southwest to help her whole family learn four-part harmonies, which they performed for friends and at local events.

While doing all this, Leslie also made time to support Allen in his own ventures and adventures. For instance, when he launched a syndicated column on home improvement for California newspapers, she edited his pieces with precision and drew accompanying cartoon illustrations. In 1998, the Gorin family moved with their golden retriever, Mischa, to a town outside Boise, Idaho, eager to escape the smog and congestion of California and explore what life could be like on more land. They planted fruit trees at their new home, grew an enormous garden, and explored the nearby wilderness through hikes and camping. Leslie continued educating her daughters all the way through high school, preparing them for college and successful careers becoming a mentor to others in the homeschool community.

After closing that chapter in her life, Leslie opened a new one as a children's author. A tireless researcher and a gifted writer, she published an array of non-fiction pieces about subjects ranging from sea lions to folklore to Moses Alexander, a former governor of Idaho who became the first elected Jewish governor in the United States. She also published two children's books, "Bertie Wings It" and "Elly and the Smelly Sneaker."

Even as illness led Leslie to cut back on writing during the last few years of her life, her characteristic quickness and playfulness still made appearances with resounding victories in family Scrabble games, for instance. She also offered welcome reminiscences about her earlier adventures and travels. Most importantly, she continued to love and care for her family.

Leslie is survived by her mother, Alice; her brother and sister, Richard and Cynthia; her husband, Allen; and her daughters, Arielle and Anna. Her family continues to love her deeply and cherishes her memory.

Published in Idaho Statesman on June 10, 2019.


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