Leslie E. (Les) Cansler, Jr. of New Castle, DE, passed away on April 27, 2023. He was 102 years old.
He was born in Hickory, NC, on Sept. 16, 1920, the son of Mabel Braswell and Leslie E. Cansler. He was reared in Greensboro and Henderson, NC, and graduated from Henderson High School.
Les grew up during the Great Depression and worked both mornings and evenings delivering newspapers to earn spending money.
Les graduated from Wake Forest University in 1941 and was on the staff of the Old Gold and Black, the school’s newspaper, for four years and was its sports editor for two years. He was also a founding member of the university’s chapter of, Sigma Phi Epsilon, a fact he was most proud of.
Upon graduation, he went to work as a sports reporter for the Elizabeth City (NC) Daily Advance where he was soon promoted to News Editor. In late 1941, he left the Advance and joined the Raleigh (NC) Times as a reporter.
Les served in the Navy during World War II. He attended Midshipman’s School at Columbia University in New York and was commissioned an Ensign in October 1942. He was assigned to the USS Procyon, which participated in Allied landings at Sicily and Salerno. In 1944, he was transferred to the USS Tyrrell which was sent to Okinawa and Nagasaki. Following the war, Les remained in the Naval Reserve, eventually retiring with the rank of Commander.
After the war, Les eventually returned to the Raleigh Times as a reporter and in 1946 was named City Editor of the paper. In 1947, he moved to Wilmington, to become Makeup Editor of the old Journal-Every Evening. He eventually served as News Editor, Assistant Managing Editor, and Managing Editor. When the News Journal started its Sunday paper, he was named Associate Sunday Editor and later, Sunday Editor. Les was an Associate Editor of the News Journal papers when he retired in 1988.
Les was a member of the St. James Episcopal Church, Mill Creek; and the Military Officers Association of America.
He is preceded in death by his first wife, Marie M. Olwell, his second wife, Elizabeth (Betty) M Supplee, and his great-grandson Jason Cansler.
He is survived by sons, David O., of Wilmington, Robert S. (Elaine) of North Myrtle Beach, SC, and James H. (Lori) of Chattanooga, TN. Also, he is survived by his daughter, Leslie Anne (Jason). Les had 6 grandchildren, Phillip (Melissa), Lois Emily (Phil), Chelsey (Justin), Allison, Claire, and Dylan Cansler. He will also be missed by his five great grandchildren.
A visitation will be held on Monday May 22, from 6-8 pm at McCrery & Harra Funeral Home, 3710 Kirkwood Hwy, Wilmington, DE 19808. The funeral service will be held on Tuesday, May 23, from 11am-12pm at St. James Episcopal Church, Mill Creek, 2106 St. James Church Rd, Wilmington, DE 19808, with Military service being held at the Delaware Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in Bear, Delaware immediately following at 1pm. All are welcome to attend.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. James Episcopal Church, Mill Creek.