Francis Ancil LeSourd was dedicated not only to effecting change through the law but by giving back to the city he loved. Mr. LeSourd, who was known as "Fran," died in his sleep of natural causes on July 17 at his Laurelhurst home. He was 102.
Francis Ancil LeSourd was dedicated not only to effecting change through the law but by giving back to the city he loved.
“He really had a sense of civic pride,” said Larry Hard, who worked at Mr. LeSourd’s law practice.
“He had a great compassion that he didn’t wear on his sleeve.”
Mr. LeSourd helped Seattle hire its first African-American bus drivers, pioneered one of the nation’s first interracial housing communities and helped create Crystal Mountain Ski Resort.
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Mr. LeSourd, who was known as “Fran,” died in his sleep of natural causes on July 17 at his Laurelhurst home. He was 102.
“He was an example of what is needed in every generation for a city to be successful,” said his son Peter LeSourd, of Pasadena, Calif.
Born in Seattle on June 22, 1908, Mr. LeSourd graduated with honors from University of Washington Law School in 1932.
Mr. LeSourd, who became a successful lawyer working in federal legislation and eventually started his own practice, remained humble.
“He always said money was not the most important thing,” said his son Chris LeSourd, 68. “Being happy was.”
And Mr. LeSourd was happy with all of his accomplishments, said his eldest son, Peter LeSourd, 72.
In 1933, Mr. LeSourd worked as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., where he handled constitutional tax issues involving President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” and wrote briefs on Supreme Court cases, including one that led to the enactment of the Social Security Act in 1935.
Mr. LeSourd soon married Elizabeth Burgess Roberts and moved back to Seattle in 1938. He became a partner in the law firm of Little, LeSourd, Palmer, Scott and Slemmons, and started his own firm in 1960. He retired from practicing law full time in 1986.
“Given the demands of his legal career and all of his civic involvement, I’m amazed at how much time he spent with his family,” Peter LeSourd said.
Mr. LeSourd spent a lot of time with his family in the outdoors, backpacking, camping, skiing or sailing.
“He loved Seattle — the mountains, the wilderness, the urban life,” said Peter LeSourd.
Mr. LeSourd was one of the founders of Crystal Mountain Ski Resort and was on its board of directors for more than 20 years. He was the president and a board member of the Seattle Opera Association. He helped establish the Seattle Housing Authority, and he pushed for the construction in 1941 of Yesler Terrace, one of the nation’s first racially integrated public-housing communities. As a member of the Seattle Civil Service Commission, he pushed for the hiring of the city’s first African-American bus drivers.
His first wife, Burgess Roberts, died in 1979. Mr. LeSourd married Lucile Wilcox in 1980. She died in 1998.
He is survived by son Peter LeSourd and his wife, Margo Halsted, of Pasadena, Calif.; son Chris LeSourd and his wife, Ruth, of Seattle; stepson Robert Wilcox and his wife, Paula; stepdaughter Susan Wilcox; stepdaughter Sally Wilcox Garlick and her husband, Stanley; 15 grandchildren and step-grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren and step-great- grandchildren.
The family will hold a private burial Thursday in Seattle.
The family suggests memorials be made to the Seattle Opera Foundation online at www.seattleopera.org/support/donate.aspx; or to the University of Washington School of Law, Office of Advancement, William H. Gates Hall, Box 353020, Seattle, WA 98195-3020.
Lauren C. Williams: 206-464-3195 or email@example.com