Leslie J. Gilbert was born January 8th, 1961 to Jack and Sophia Gilbert as the youngest of three girls. She demonstrated a propensity for serving and healing others when she created a worm hospital to help the "needy." Leslie's passion never waned as she pursued a Medical Degree from Case School of Medicine. Leslie went on to do her residency and sub-specialty at the Cleveland Clinic as a physician in Vascular Medicine and a wound care specialist. Leslie went into private practice at St. Vincent Charity hospital bringing her skillset to those in need. While there she served as the Medical Director of the Vascular Lab and Wound Care Clinic. Leslie returned the Cleveland Clinic, a place she always loved, and made huge contributions to the Cardio Vascular Institute. Leslie greatly impacted the lives of her patients, students, and all those who were lucky enough to work with her. Her desire to help extended outside the four walls of the hospital and she was often found providing aide at the scene of any emergency, including single-handedly reviving a drowning victim.
While Leslie's professional accolades were astounding, her proudest accomplishment was her family. On June 4th, 1988 she married her best friend, Neil Baltes. Neil and Leslie welcomed a daughter, Halle, and a son, Grant, into the world a few years later. As a mother and wife Leslie could often be found creating incredible stories or reading books aloud to Halle and Grant, or on the sidelines of a soccer game cheering on her kids and husband, or on a soccer field being cheered on by her husband and children, or out in front of a fire pit enjoying a few "splashes" of wine, or on the floor hanging with the dog - her proclaimed favorite child, or camping wherever she could pitch a tent - even if it happened to be the middle of the road, or lounging in the sun at the boat house, or simultaneously reading a book and watching TV, or sitting in her husband's lap while boisterously laughing about another crazy Neil and Leslie adventure. Or she might be found simply holding the hands of friends and family, imbuing their lives with her uniquely powerful blend of strength and love.
Leslie was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Multiple Myeloma in 2010. She was very private about her health struggles but fought with a strength and determination that only she was capable of. Leslie's fighting spirit allowed her to celebrate her daughter's wedding this summer which took place in the same church that she and Neil were married in 30 years prior. Leslie spent the entire wedding dancing, laughing, and loving. She was the absolute embodiment of beauty and life.
Grant asked Leslie for her favorite quotes, one of which was, "Quam bene vivas refert non quam dia" which translates to "It is how well you lived that matters, not how long." Well mom, I think everyone will agree with me when I say: I think you lived the best life.
Leslie J. Gilbert, MD, age 57 of Shaker Hts., OH. Beloved wife of Neil E. Baltes; loving mother of Halle F. Baltes (Cameron Jones, USMC) of Monterey, CA and Grant E. Baltes of Chicago, IL; dear sister of Lori Ryan (Michael) and Lisa Gilbert; dear daughter of Sophia Gilbert and the late Jack Gilbert of Olmsted Falls, OH.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in memory of Leslie Gilbert to the Multiple Myeloma Program at Cleveland Clinic's Taussig Cancer Institute. Gifts can be sent to Cleveland Clinic Foundation, P.O. Box 931517, Cleveland, OH 44193-1655 or made online at clevelandclinic.org/giving.
FRIENDS MAY CALL AT BROWN-FORWARD, 17022 CHAGRIN BLVD, SHAKER HTS., OH, ON SATURDAY, AUGUST 25 FROM 3-5 AND 7-9 PM. A brief Prayer Service will be held at 4:30 pm that same day.