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Leslie Sue Nafzger (née Bertram) passed away peacefully on Wednesday, December 27, 2023, in Conway, Arkansas at the age of 68. She was surrounded by loved ones in person and in spirit. Born in Evanston, Illinois on July 8, 1955, Leslie was the eldest of four children. She spent most of her childhood in Ingleside, Illinois where she made many life-long friends. After graduating from Grant Community High School in 1973, Leslie briefly attended Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, followed by the College of Lake County where she obtained her Associates Degree and Nursing License in 1980. In 2006, Leslie earned her BS in Health Arts from the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois.
Leslie served as a caregiver for decades in both her personal and professional lives. She began her nursing career at St. Therese Hospital in Waukegan, Illinois, working first in the nursery and later in Home Health and Hospice Care. Following her time at St. Therese, she worked for Provena Home Care in Gurnee, Illinois, Vista Medical Center in Waukegan, Victory Lakes in Lindenhurst, Illinois, and NAMM in Hillside, Illinois.
On May 12, 2001, Leslie married the love of her life, Paul K. Nafzger, Jr., and in 2009 the happy couple left the urban lifestyle and cold, snowy winters of Northern Illinois behind in favor of a quieter life and a custom-built home in Clinton, Arkansas. Though she experienced a few slight mishaps early on, such as being pulled over for driving on icy roads and blindly following her GPS down (or up?) remote gravel roads, Leslie quickly grew accustomed to her new surroundings and became an integral part of the community.
After arriving in Arkansas, Leslie returned to her roots as a Home Health nurse, later working as a Personal Care Nurse for Van Buren County Department of Health and, finally, as a Registered Nurse for the Arkansas Department of Human Services. She retired in July of 2020, but continued pouring time and effort into her home-based business as a consultant for Thirty-One Gifts.
When she was not working, Leslie pursued a variety of hobbies and interests. She had a HAM Radio License (NI9DX) and participated in several field days over the years. She also enjoyed playing games of all kinds: cards with her mother-in-law Donna, Bunco, Hand and Foot, Wordle, and Words with Friends to name a few. She was no stranger to video games, either, and could often be found cultivating her island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons or adventuring through the Mushroom Kingdom in the latest Mario game. She especially enjoyed weekend camping in her favorite spot at Choctaw Park and visiting her children and grandchildren whenever feasible.
Throughout her life, Leslie was well served by her ability to talk to anyone in any context. She was quick to build friendships and had an uncanny ability to make folks feel loved and valued. She was also known for her witty and wonderful sense of humor, bringing laughter and light to everyone around her. Connection fueled her life and it is through those connections that her spirit will live on.
Leslie was preceded in death by her father, William Harris Bertram; mother, Suzanne Arlene Hamaker (née Luce); stepfather Noble Desmond Hamaker; stepmother, Shirley Lorraine Bertram (née Albrecht); and stepsister Sherry Myszka (née Legg). She is survived by her loving and devoted husband of 22 years, Paul; mother-in-law Donna Nafzger; siblings William (Kim Hovind) Bertram, Jr., Pam (Jeff) Nielsen (née Bertram), and Ronald Bertram; stepsiblings Linda Hamaker, Cyndi Mostad (née Hamaker), Janet Rains (née Legg), and Steven Legg; children Christine (Nick) Aimes (née Jaburek), Sarah (Steve) Hester (née Jaburek), Eric (Nicole née Bisang) Jaburek, Lawrence (Michelle née Menkhaus) Reed, Merrick (Erica) Beinke (née Gledhill), and Emily Gledhill; stepchildren Brian Nafzger, and Jeff (Keisha née Grove) Nafzger; a whole slew of nieces and nephews; and an even greater number of grandchildren.
A visitation will be held on Friday, January 5, 2024, at 10:00am followed by a memorial service at 11:00am at Ozark View Funeral Home, 1239 Hwy 65 S, Clinton, AR 72031.
An additional memorial will be held in Northern Illinois at a later date, with details still to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Leslie's name to:
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF)
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ozark View Funeral Home. To share a memory, pleas go to www.ozarkviewfuneralhome.com.