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Leslie Elizabeth Stern-Gastel, 57, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, February 4, 2024. She is survived by her beloved husband, Justin, two cherished daughters, Muriel and Natalie; her mother, Janet Stern; sisters Julie Brandon and Lynn Stern; brother David Stern (Mana); in-laws Jonathan Gastel (Susan) and Tom Gastel; and Nancy Gastel. She also leaves behind adored nieces and nephews: Robert Brandon, Jr; Helen Stern; Elsa Stern; Dylan Gastel, Dennis Gastel and Amanda Gastel.

Funeral Services will be held on WEDNESDAY February 7, 2024 at 12 Noon in The Main Sanctuary at Temple Beth El (139 Winton Road South). CLICK HERE for a map to Temple. A procession will follow to Mount Hope Cemetery.

Calling hours will be at Temple Beth-El on Wednesday: February 7, Thursday: February 8 and Friday: February 9 from 4-6 PM.

Born and raised in Webster, NY, Leslie received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware in fashion merchandising and master’s degree in family counseling from Brockport State University. She was a caring, compassionate mental health professional in private practice in Rochester.

The most important thing in Leslie’s life was her family. She was a devoted wife to Justin, to whom she was married for more than 18 years. Muriel and Natalie were her pride and joy.  She was highly attuned to her daughters’ interests, and her primary focus was to enable her children to enjoy skiing and soccer. She was happiest with Justin and her girls.

Leslie will be remembered for her warmth and wit. Her infectious laughter and joke-telling always lit up the room. She had a distinct sense of style and always dressed with panache. She had a discerning taste for restaurants and wine. Leslie was also an accomplished cook and was a gracious host for many meals for family and friends at her Highland Heights home.  She knit beautiful and warm hats for her family.

From childhood, Leslie was an animal lover: she rode horses, mothered many cats and countless guinea pigs. She had a passion for travel and enjoyed exploring other cultures with her family. She loved the beaches of St. Maarten, where she lived for a brief period and vacationed with her family. St. Maarten held a special place in her heart.

Leslie had a large and devoted circle of friends. They adored Leslie for her ability to listen, words of comfort, advice and, above all, her sense of fun.

Leslie was passionate about improving the mental health of individuals and families in the Rochester community.  In lieu of flowers, family and friends are encouraged to make donations in her name to the Rochester chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 346 Goodman Street, Rochester, NY 14607 (; tel: 585-423-1593).

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