Leslie Fonas Jingozian, 59, died Saturday August 26, 2023. Surrounded by friends and family, Leslie died in the comfort of her beloved childhood home after a three-year battle with metastatic cancer. She was sent off with love, dignity and a touch of humor, and her death was an experience we will never forget.
The firstborn daughter of Kenneth R. and Patricia (Minyon) Fonas, Leslie began snowplowing down the slopes as soon as she could walk. Born November 19, 1963, she grew up skiing at Seven Springs with her family. As an adult, she spent every possible moment living and skiing on Blue Knob Mountain, where she also ran the Ski Shop. Her style was a perfect blend of athleticism and elegance. A technical and graceful skier, she raced in the Moonlight Race League on the Little Valley Team which was always back and forth in the first place spot. In the off-season, she loved riding her Harley.
Leslie’s earliest claim to fame came in the mid-70s, as the girl on the box of Johnny Bench Batter Up. She was an avid equestrian and spent three happy weeks every summer at the Allegheny Riding Camp. She played classical guitar and cello. Leslie attended the East Allegheny school system K-11, and graduated from Wilson Christian Academy in 1982. After graduating from high school, she attended Gordon College on the North Shore of Massachusetts from 1982-1984. She met David Jingozian while working as an office manager for a finance group in Boston; they married in 1987, and had two daughters, Alex and Kari.
In high school and throughout her life, Leslie transcended group lines and was kind to everyone she met. She was smart, beautiful, funny, and cool, and with her blond hair, blue eyes and kind heart, she made a lasting impression on more people than any of us could have possibly known. In the words of her many friends: she had an incredible energy. She made everyone around her feel better. This was her superpower, that she was just so nice to everybody. She saw the best in everyone, and everyone loved her for it. She was a sweetheart inside and out. She was a kind beautiful woman, and we are diminished without her.
Leslie refused to let her illness become the focus of her life, and her death came as a surprise to most of her friends. She didn’t want to fuel the disease by talking about it, and trusted that whatever happened, it was God’s perfect plan for her life. She retained this hope to the end, a testament to God’s great glory.
Her death was profoundly beautiful and she left in a way that was so typically “Leslie in life” that had us crying and laughing and crying at the same time. (Leslie was notoriously bad at leaving and it was a long-standing family joke that we’d have to push her car out of the driveway to get her moving along, only to watch her return minutes later because she forgot something.) Just when we finally thought she took her last breath … here would come another one. When it happened the first time, it was, “Oops!, she forgot her keys!” Then, “Oops, she forgot her phone.” Then, “Ooops, she forgot her wallet.” But finally, she finished packing up completely, and went Home.
Leslie is survived by her parents, daughters Alexandra Jingozian and Kari (fiancé Graham Hill) Jingozian, David Jingozian, her sisters Stacey Fonas, Jodi (James) Shamlin, and Corey (Tim) Heasley, nephews Colton Heasley and Trenton Heasley, Tori (Alex) Ciorra, and her little mountain kitty, Kittybeans. The Fonas clan is missing a part of its whole. Rest in skis, Leslie.
A celebration of Leslie’s life will be held on Friday, September 8th, 2023, from 5 – 9 PM, at the Edgewood Country Club, 100 Churchill Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15235. Please RSVP no later than Thursday, August 31, to 412-824-7837 or email@example.com. We hope to see you there.
James F. Kutch Funeral Homes & Crematory
433 Lincoln Highway
East McKeesport, PA 15035
Please leave condolences at the website.
Originally published September 02, 2023.