Lee Fahnestock Leggett


Lee Fahnestock Leggett died on Monday, January 24 while in hospice care at the Masconomet Health Center in Topsfield, MA.  She was 93 years old, surrounded by her son Tony Leggett, his wife Claire, and their three children, Annalee, MI and Antonia.  

Lee was a full-time resident of Manchester during the 1950s and early 60s, and a summer resident for the rest of her life until she moved to assisted living in Danvers. 

In the 1950s, Lee and her husband, Jack Leggett, raised three young boys on Eagle Head where they converted a barn into a home with the help of architect Royal Barry Wills.  The house was featured in a double page spread in the Boston Globe as an early example of restoring a barn into a family home.  Also newsworthy, was the couple’s interest in publishing, having moved to Manchester with the encouragement of fellow Houghton Mifflin editor Austin Olney, also of Eagle Head.  

Besides raising her boys to love the great outdoors, Lee enjoyed tennis at both the Manchester Bath and Tennis Club and the Essex County Club.  Perhaps most memorable of all, Lee was very involved with an acting group that drew many townspeople into its casts, and audiences – “The Manchester Players.”  One memorable production of our town’s little, but ambitious amateur theater group was “The Crucible”, which had recently been written by Author Miller.  

From early on, a family joy was sailing together out of the Manchester Yacht Club, where Lee's son, Tony caught the bug and is now teaching sailing for Manchester High School.  The family also traveled to Europe often.  Later in life Lee finished her college degree in French Literature at the University of Iowa, and after graduate work became a literary translator, most notably a modern version of Les Misérables, published in conjunction with one of Broadway’s longest running shows.  Many summer hours were spent in Manchester working on that project and other works.  Her other days were spent on the Upper East Side of NYC where she was active in historic preservation and fundraising for a youth symphony (The New York City Housing Authority Symphony). 

Other family left behind include sons Timothy (and Phyllis) Leggett (Pittsgrove, NJ), and John Leggett (Salt Lake City, Utah).  Lee is also survived by her three grandchildren, Annalee Leggett (Brooklyn, NY), MI Leggett (Ridgewood/Queens, NY) and Antonia Leggett (West Hollywood, CA), and daughter-in-law Claire Leggett (Manchester).   A seaside family memorial will take place later in the year.

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