Leslie C. (Cooper) GolemmeFebruary 25, 1965 ~ April 22, 2017 (age 52)
Leslie Cooper Golemme, 52, of Norwell, passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by family on Saturday, April 22, 2017.
Born February 25, 1965, in Norwood, MA, to Charles V. Cooper and Marcia (Appeltofft) Cooper, Leslie grew up in Sharon, MA. She was an excellent student and athlete at Sharon High School, where she was Captain of the Cross Country and Girls Track teams. She became one of the top distance runners in Eastern Massachusetts, running a 5:05 mile and setting the course record on Sharon’s 2.7-mile cross-country course at 15:00 in 1981, among many outstanding performances. In 2013, she was inducted into the Sharon High School Hall of Fame.
A two-time Boston Globe All Scholastic Athlete and three-time Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic, she was recruited to run for Harvard University, where she made the Varsity Cross Country team her freshman year and was a key contributor to Harvard’s string of four consecutive Ivy League Cross Country titles. She was a multiple letter winner in Track & Field for Harvard and captained the Cross Country team her senior year.
At Harvard Leslie received a BA in biological anthropology in 1986. Upon graduation, she embarked on a highly successful career as a management consultant in strategy and operations in the environmental and healthcare industries, while also running professionally for Nike. In 1992, she received an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and afterwards advanced her career at CSC Index, SRI Consulting and Serono, Inc. Throughout her busy career, Leslie was very active and adventurous, traveling extensively, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, bungee jumping off a bridge in New Zealand and becoming an excellent horseback rider and competitive mountain bike racer.
She married Brian Golemme in 1999 in Nantucket, a place that held special meaning for Leslie. She returned there several times a year to vacation with family and friends and enjoy nature and the ocean. She felt a peace in Nantucket that she felt nowhere else, and the family has many priceless memories of time spent together there. Leslie and Brian settled in Norwell and began to raise a family. Their children -- Ryan, Isabella and Cooper -- were born in a span of two and half years, and Leslie then devoted herself to raising them and was a loving and exceptional mother and wife.
When Leslie turned 40, with three children under 4, she returned to competitive running as a masters runner. She pursued this objective with amazing drive, determination, and focus as she trained for regional and national events. She became one of the top ranked Masters runners in the country, achieving Master All American status 12 times, winning medals in distances ranging from 800 to 5000 meters and competing in the Masters World Championships in 2011. What made these accomplishments more impressive is the fact that Leslie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. Despite this devastating diagnosis, she not only ran during chemotherapy but also ran the equivalent of a half marathon one month after finishing treatment. She also won the 200-mile Reach the Beach relay race as part of both mixed masters and women’s teams.
Leslie was also deeply engaged in volunteer work, and in 2006 she became the first woman to be named Co-Chair of the Friends of Harvard Track. She spent many hours volunteering and brought her energy, talent, enthusiasm and outstanding organizational ability to this role. During her time as chair, fundraising expanded over tenfold and she helped establish an Executive Board that leads the group to this day. In recognition of her efforts, she was named “Friend of the Year” by Harvard Athletics in 2016. She also co-founded the Norwell Middle School Cross Country Club, which introduces 30-40 middle schoolers to competitive running every fall.
Devoted to her children and husband, Leslie brought an abundance of love and her legendary energy, strong intellect, focus and drive to help all of them achieve success in life. As a mother, she was committed to treating each child as an individual and encouraging their passions and interests without judging them. She emphasized not only setting goals toward meaningful accomplishments, but also being a good person, sibling and friend.
Leslie will be greatly missed by the many people whose lives she touched and will be remembered for bringing people together and for her sarcastic wit. While setting an example for overcoming obstacles through hard work and determination, she was both highly effective and a very nice and generous person.
Most of all, she will be missed by her husband, Brian Golemme, and their children, Ryan, Isabella, and Cooper, of Norwell, MA; her mother Marcia Appeltofft Cooper French, of Langdon, NH; her brother, Brian Cooper, of Foxboro, MA; and the entire extended Golemme family, who embraced and cherished her as one of their own.
A public Memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 13, at 1:00 PM at the United Church of Christ in Norwell.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Leslie's memory may be made to the Trustees of the Reservations, http://www.thetrustees.org/; Friends of Harvard Track http://www.gocrimson.com/information/support/gift_opportunities; or Nantucket Community Sailing http://www.nantucketcommunitysailing.org/