Laura Leistra
Laura Leistra
Laura Leistra
Laura Leistra
Laura Leistra

Obituary of Laura G. Leistra

Laura Gardner Leistra, of Penfield, NY, passed away on Sunday, June 28, 2020, at the age of 58.


She was born July 24, 1961 in Carlisle, PA.  Laura is survived by husband Jim Leistra of 33 yrs, daughter Abby Leistra and son Matt Leistra.  Laura is survived by mother Elizabeth Gardner, sisters Beth (Mike) Aucoin and Sharon Gardner.  Surviving in-laws include Wayne (Kathy) Leistra, and Cindy Leistra-Cole.  Laura’s gentle loving spirit will be missed by all of the above plus nephews, nieces and friends. 


Laura graduated from Bucknell University with a B.A in Biology where she played field hockey and was an athletic trainer.  Laura then graduated from University of Pittsburgh with both a B.S. and M.S. in Physical Therapy.  Laura met her husband Jim at a Pitt/CMU fellowship group and they married in 1987.


Laura spent most of her adult life in Fairport, NY where she raised Abby and Matt, her greatest joys, plus her third child who had four legs, white fur and a wagging tail (Coby, her loving Westie dog).  Family highlights included family vacations at the Green Barn on Keuka Lake, hosting Easter Egg hunts and brunches, group camping with the boat, creating a neighborhood Amazing Race birthday party and supporting Abby and Matt in their academic and social development.  The many band concerts, soccer games, field hockey games and tennis matches provided opportunities for lasting friendships with other parents.


Her personal interests included cooking, watching cooking shows (favorite was Beat Bobby Flay), reading both fiction and personal enrichment books and physical fitness.  Laura was a runner, swimmer and cyclist, competing in numerous triathlons in the Finger Lakes region, typically finishing in the top 5 for her age group.  Her running highlights include training with her running group, completing two NYC marathons, the Chicago marathon, and the Boston marathon. 


Laura also served the community in many ways.  She had a passion for Christian education, serving at Browncroft Community Church as a Sunday school teacher — she possessed a special talent for making classes fun — and volunteered in a Rochester city school.


Professionally, Laura was an advocate for senior citizens and physical fitness.  As a physical therapist, she served as Rehab Director at various nursing homes for Freedom Therapy and HealthPro Heritage, practiced physical therapy at independent living facilities, and taught balance classes for fall prevention.  Laura was a long time Eastside YMCA instructor for aqua aerobics classes.


Laura’s family remembers her for her generous heart, patient nature and compassionate spirit.  A celebration of Laura’s life will be held at a later date. 


Donations can be made to the following Rochester charity supporting girls emotional and physical development:


Girls on the Run of Greater Rochester

2132 Five Mile Line Road, Suite D

Penfield, NY 14526

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