Self-storage industry pioneer Harold Carlton Leslie, 77, passed away on Jan. 15. A funeral mass was held this morning at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Tallahassee, Fla., with interment at Tallahassee Memory Gardens. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Big Bend Hospice, 1723 Mahan Center Blvd., Tallahassee, FL 32308.
Harold was born on Oct. 7, 1932, to James and Mattie Simpson Leslie in Macon, Ga., where he lived until moving to Miami, Fla., in 1945. He enlisted in the Coast Guard and was stationed in the Pacific Northwest, seeing duty from Port of Seattle through the Aleutian Islands chain, where he supplied lighthouses and regulated commercial whaling operations.
After serving his country, Harold enrolled at the University of Miami, majoring in broadcasting and minoring in business finance. After finishing his degree, he moved back to Macon, where and took a job as a disc jockey and met Winnie Doke, whom he married in June 1957.
Harold then took a job managing a mobile-home sales business, through which he eventually owned 150 sales facilities across the United States. When the company closed in the mid-1970s, Harold did business consulting for Dunn & Bradstreet, where he consulted for the Piper Family of Memphis, Tenn.
The family hired him to work at Piper Industries, which manufactured farm implements and shell casings. The company also had a subsidiary that produced metal buildings for the then fledgling self-storage industry. His involvement in self-storage grew throughout the ‘80s, and he launched and was president of Leslie Industries, which has developed more than 52 million square feet of self-storage to date.
Harold was a charter member of the Self Storage Association, instrumental in its early development. He was also a pioneer in the development of the standing-seam steel roof concept, now the accepted norm for the storage industry.
Harold enjoyed traveling, fishing and golf as well as spending time with his grandson and close friends. He is survived by two sons, Gregory C. Leslie and Phillip Glen Leslie, a grandson, Phillip Glen Leslie III, and a sister, Julia Vaughn. Harold was preceded in death by his loving wife, Winnie, and two daughters, Beverly Leslie and Cynthia Leslie Hanley.
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