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Sadly, the Baker Street Irregulars have lost one our our own. Richard D. Lesh, BSI ("The Fatal Battle of Maiwand") has crossed over the Reichenbach. He was a holder of the BSI's prestigious Two-Shilling Award, given for service above and beyond the norm to the Irregulars, and also a member of the Master's Masons. Hailing from Fort Collins, CO his obituary is available from The Coloradan. I have reproduced it here:

Richard D. Lesh passed away Thursday, Feb. 1, 2007, at Centre Avenue Health and Rehabilitation Center following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was born May 3, 1927, in Grand Island, Neb., to Ethel Darling and Charles Wesley Lesh.

He grew up in Omaha and graduated from Benson High School in 1945. Following graduation from the University of Denver, he married his high school sweetheart, Marilyn White, on June 19, 1949. They lived in Denver while he completed his master's degree at the University of Denver, and he accepted a position as an art instructor at Wayne State College in Nebraska in 1951. Together, they raised five children in Wayne, until he retired to Fort Collins in 1982.

He was a Master Mason, Scottish Rite Mason, a member of El Jebel Shrine and a Jester. He was also an active member of the Baker Street Irregulars, an international Sherlock Holmes Society. He was a member and former president of the Nebraska Arts Council and had his paintings exhibited throughout the Midwest.

Richard is survived by his wife of 57 years, Marilyn; his children, Linda (Dan) Payton of Fort Collins, Dr. Kurt (Rosa Mery) Lesh of Colorado Springs; Lisa (David) Bey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Lori (Alfred) Willett of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Kipp Lesh and partner Hallee Fish of Longmont; his sister, Darlene (Terry) Reynolds of Omaha; and nine grandchildren, Harrison, Emma, Ross and Julia Payton of Fort Collins, Kevin and Jennifer Lesh of Colorado Springs, and Emily Bey and Amy and Clayton Willett of Cedar Rapids.

A private family service is planned. Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society or the Shrine Children's Hospital in care of Goes Funeral Care.

I didn't have the honor of knowing Dick Lesh personally - I don't even know why he was granted his second shilling in 1990 , so I would appreciate hearing from anyone who knew him. Feel free to leave your personal memories in the comments section below.


Sean Wright BSI, said... February 4, 2007 at 8:18 AM

It's been my invariable custom to make specific reference to Dick Lesh when addressing groups about the Baker Street Irregulars.

Along with the rest of the Maiwand Jezails, I regarded Dick as the epitome of fun-loving Sherlockian. Beginning some 35 years ago I learned of Dick and the Jezails and frequently howled with laughter after learning of their latest adventure.

Surely is was an event of the first order to snare Basil Rathbone upon the occasion of the grand opening of Dr Watson's Reading Room at the library of Wayne State!

In the mid-70s I planned a comprehensive book on the scion societies, complete with history, unique traditions and photographs. Among the few taking the time to return data, was Dick Lesh who replied right away.

And his reply was chock full of information, including newspaper clippings relating hilarious activities, one of which included the detail that, as the interview was being conducted, a special messenger brought a wrapped cardboard box to the door.

Upon opening the box and finding it filled with salt and two strange objects, the reporter quoted Dick as stating, with some gravity, that "whether the objects in the box are freshly severed human ears or simply two peach slices will take further examination."

Also included was a photo of the proposed monument the Jezails hoped to erect at Maiwand honoring both Dr Watson and the 'valiant Afghani soldier' who shot him.

Dick explained that the Jezails continued to grease the palms of various officials with silver. Unhappily, with the continued regime changes, coups and unrest efforts in getting the monument onto the field in Maiwand did not seem too likely.

16 or 17 years later I met Dick in person during the Birthday Weekend in 1992. We were attending a party hosted by Bill Cochran and Don Gordon. I'm happy to report that we thoroughly enjoyed each other's company, although, Dick confided, from all the buzz circulating in some Irregular circles, he'd been prepared not to like me.

By evening's end he happily told me that all he'd heard was obviously just a crock. Of course, we'd both been imbibing potent potables, so it's possible he said I was just a crock. The matter will take further examination.

When I first got a computer in 1999 the first Irregular I found with anything like a way to communicate was Dick Lesh. I left a message at his website in a space like this one - knowledge about email came later.

I wish I knew more about Dick. I certainly hope those who knew Dick better and have more stories about him will share them with us here.

Sherlockiana is the poorer for Dick's passing. I can but hope that he is making "further examination" in a happier sphere than that which he has left.

With deepest sympathy and kindest regards for Dick's family.