Georgianna Shepherd Leslie Middlebrook, of Washington, CT passed away Monday December 26, 2016 in Cambridge, MA, at the age of 93.
She was born May 5, 1923 in Evanston, IL, daughter of the late Freeland and Via (Carter) Leslie. Mrs. Middlebrook graduated from the University of Michigan School of Art and Design and continued her Art studies at Chicago Art Institute, Parsons School of Design and National Academy of Fine Arts, both in New York City.
She loved to travel, and was a wonderful travel companion, who never complained and was always ready for a new adventure with her beloved family and friends. Off some Bahamian Island, at age 75, she strapped on a parachute and went flying above the waves pulled by a motor boat. She shared a trip to Prague with her family and in spite of her 80 years, negotiated the city’s rough cobblestoned streets and kept pace without complaint. She also travelled through Germany and Austria while attending opera performances where her daughter, Leslie, was singing.
She lived in Hong Kong with her family while her husband Robert headed up the Pfizer Far East division, from 1958 to 1964 and traveled throughout Asia and Australia prior to their return to the U.S. A. Her daughter, Julia, was born in Hong Kong. Her early career included being a commercial artist in Chicago and also frees lancing in NYC. She illustrated children’s books among other assignments. Then later in Connecticut she became very well known for her paintings and prints, many with horticultural themes. She had many one woman shows, among them at the SILO in New Milford and the Washington Art Association. In 2013 there was a retrospective of her work at the WAA (in her ninetieth year). She was represented by a gallery in Danbury throughout the seventies and eighties.
She moved to Washington with her family in 1964 and became keenly interested in the community’s future. She supported careful and thoughtful development of the land, keeping open space wherever possible. To this end she donated 17 acres of her land to Conservation Easement. Mrs. Middlebrook was a member of the Washington Art Association. Her floral and herbal garden was renowned throughout the area and she was a long time member and past president of the Washington Garden Club; she was a member of the Herb Society of America, the Garden Conservancy of America, Mad Gardeners, the Washington Club and the Gunn Memorial Museum of Washington. In addition, she was a member of the Mattatuck Museum of Waterbury, a board member for years of the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, a board member of the Devereux Glenholme School in Washington for many years, a member of the First Congregational Church of Washington and at one time, chairman of Deacons. The Washington Republican Town Committee was also a very important organization to Mrs. Middlebrook and she spent many hours volunteering along with fellow members of the WRTC. In addition, she was elected as a member of the Washington Zoning Board of Appeals in her 80’s. She was also a member of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority, University of Michigan Chapter. In 2014 she was named one of the 50 most influential people in Litchfield County by by Litchfiel
Mrs. Middlebrook was predeceased by her husband Robert Ward Middlebrook in February of 1989 after 43 years of marriage, her son-in-law, Bruce Kenneth Forbes of Boston, MA, in January of 2016 and her brother Carter Leslie of Charleston, SC in September 2013. She is survived by her daughters Leslie Moore and her husband Lee of New York, NY and Julia Forbes of Boston, MA, her Granddaughter, Heather Forbes of Boston, MA, her sister, Mary E. Gutsche of Annapolis, MD and many nieces and nephews.
A funeral service will take place on Saturday January 7, 2017 at her home in Washington, CT. A Memorial Service will take place at the First Congregational Church in Washington, CT, at a date to be determined.
Contributions in Mrs. Middlebrook’s memory may be made to the Washington Art Association, 4 Bryan Hall Plaza, Washington Depot, CT 06794 or the First Congregational Church of Washington, Music Fund, 6 Kirby Rd., Washington, CT 06793 or the Gun Memorial Museum of Washington, Historiacal Garden, 5 Wykeham Rd., Washington, CT 06793.