James Leslie Combs
Friday 31st of January 1947 - Friday 11th of October 2019
James Leslie Combs died Friday October 11, 2019 at the age of 72. He is survived by his wife Karen Goodwin Combs, daughter Tricia (Jeff) Neal, grandchildren Adam Bray and Caroline Neal, great-grandson Portland Bray, and sister Kathy (Gary) Ginn, niece Michelle Ginn, nephew Andrew (Amy) Ginn, and two great nephews, Matthew and Meritt Ginn. He is also survived by a stepdaughter, Kellie (Rob) Streib and three step-grandsons, Brady and Brendan Streib and Chase Neal. He is preceded in death by his father and mother, Jim and Ronnie Combs and a brother, Lawrence Combs. He is also preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Henry and Peggy Combs of Nicholasville and his maternal grandparents, Charles and Mary Courtiour of Lichfield, England.
Leslie was born to James Henry Combs, of Scuddy, Kentucky and Veronica Mary Combs of Lichfield, England on January 31, 1947. He was born in the family farmhouse in Nicholasville, Kentucky and grew up in Lexington with his mom and dad, sister Kathryn (Kathy), little brother Lawrence, and his English grandparents, Charles and Mary Courtiour. His paternal grandparents, Henry and Peggy Combs, remained on the farm in Nicholasville. Weekend visits to the country and visiting grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins were a highlight of his young years. His Uncle Viv and Aunt Bea also moved from England to Lexington. Leslie grew up in a family that treasured and put value in each other rather than possessions.
Leslie graduated from Bryan Station High School in 1965 and enjoyed socializing with his classmates over the years. His love for music developed in high school where he played the trumpet and the tuba in the marching band, concert band, and Youth Symphony Orchestra. While he was in the Youth Symphony Orchestra, Leslie traveled to the White House and met and played for President Kennedy. Leslie worked his way through college by playing bass guitar in a rock band. They called themselves “The Constellations”, later “The Traditions”. During the 60’s, the band changed their image and name to “Spyce” trading their suits for bell bottoms and fringed vests. In obedience to his father, Leslie never grew his hair long. His band was one of the best in the area, covering Tom Jones, Gene Pitney, and the likes. They were an opening band for Exile in the early days and practiced regularly in his parents’ basement. Leslie enrolled at UK to major in music but this was interrupted by Vietnam. Leslie left UK to serve in the Marine Corps Reserve and returned to complete his education at Eastern Kentucky University where he earned an Associate’s Degree and became an engineering draftsman.
Leslie and his family lived in Lexington for many years. Here, he raised his only daughter, Tricia, who he loved and was was very proud of. He worked for several design and engineering firms, including Link-Belt. While in Lexington, Leslie was a member of Northern Heights Christian Church and ran the sound ministry and tape ministry for shut-ins. He also served on the board of directors of the Lexington Christian Academy. He later moved to Somerset to work for Sany-Metal, living there for over 20 years After moving to Somerset, he loved watching his grandson, Adam, and step grandson, Chase, play ball and taking his granddaughter, Carly, to feed the ducks. He served on the board of the Master Musicians Festival for many years. He moved back to Lexington in late 2012 to care for his aging parents.
While visiting Broadway Christian Church, he became interested in a friend of his sister. After Kathy assured Karen that he was not a crazy stalker, Karen and Leslie did get together and began dating. On their second date, Leslie took Karen to the ER where she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After strong pain medication, she opened her eyes and “saw a handsome guy holding her coat and purse”. She remembers him coming over to the bed and gently whispering, “I’m going to see you through this.” He kept his word and was with her throughout treatment to remission. On April 11, 2015, they were married at Broadway Christian Church.
Leslie and Karen were involved with several ministries including “Room in the Inn”, one of BCC’s homeless ministries. Both he and Karen had a heart for those in need.
During his retirement, Leslie loved his part-time work as a horse farm tour guide. He grew to love the people, the horses, and the history of the farms. Leslie was at his best meeting and talking to people about horses. His fondest memories were feeding Justify from the palm of his hand and meeting American Pharaoh, Pioneer of the Nile, and other great racehorses.
Leslie and Karen shared their love of music in the choir together and he began playing the bass guitar for the Gospel Choir. They traveled with BCC’s choir to Carnegie Hall and Vienna, Austria and performed with the Gaither Vocal Band at Northern Kentucky University. He and Karen were days away from joining a choir trip to perform in Italy, when Leslie’s health would not allow him to travel abroad. He was later diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS).
Leslie never gave his illness the power to dim his spirits or take away his enjoyment of life. He was determined to undergo all treatments possible in order to stay here with Karen and his family. Without complaint, he fought tirelessly and valiantly through over two years of treatment that would have crushed many. He was a beautiful and precious man with the purest heart of any.
Visitation will be on Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 10:00am – 1:00pm at Broadway Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky. The Funeral Service will begin at 1:00pm. Burial will follow at Blue Grass Memorial Gardens Cemetery.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11
Karen - What a lovely tribute to your husband. I am happy that you had such wonderful love in your life. My thoughts and heart are with you.
Karen, Your life and Les's life are a testament to God's loving care. He has provided so beautifully and compassionately for you both during all your trials. You have glorified His Name through all of this and made Him known to everyone with whom you are in contact. I praise our loving heavenly Father for His work in your life. Les will be forever our Italy music friend and we will forever be your friend, although from a distance. Our hearts are with you!
Betty Jo Stevenssays
I am so sad to hear of Leslie’s death. And I am grateful to have read his obituary and to have learned more about his remarkable life. I knew Leslie from grade school through high school. And in recent years when I brought my Mom to visit BCC, we appreciated his kind and friendly presence there. My prayers go to all those who were close to him and will miss him so much.
Karen, Kathy and family, Leslie was such a kind, loving soul. He was a gentleman with so many talents. His love for his family and friends will forever live in your hearts. H will be missed but he will always be with you. Keep faith in god. He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. Psalm 147:3 My thoughts and prayers are for the family. Marsha Brock
Karen and Family, I am so saddened to hear of the loss of your husband Leslie. I know he will be truly missed by all. May God wrap his loving arms around you and all of his family at this time. I will keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers.
Karen, This is such a wonderful, heartfelt obituary. I am praying that God continues to provide you and Les' family with strength. Bless you.