Leslie L. Monthan

U.S. Navy

2022

When asked where she’s from, Leslie often replies, “All over.” She grew up in a Navy family: Her father is a retired career Navy fighter pilot, and her mother’s father was a distinguished rear admiral. By the age of 13, Leslie had lived in six different East Coast locations. When her father retired as a Captain in 1970, the family moved to his hometown, Tucson, Ariz. After high school and a year as an exchange student in Sweden, Leslie graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.A. in theater in 1979. It was not originally her intention to follow the family line into the Navy, as both her older sisters had done, but in 1980 she chose to postpone pursuing her acting career and was accepted to Navy Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I. She was commissioned an Ensign, USNR, in July 1980.


Her first duty station was Naval Security Group Activity Skaggs Island, in Northern California, serving first as administrative officer and then as communications security training officer, leading a team of enlisted specialists who conducted inspections and training visits at Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard commands from Monterey, Calif., to Adak, Alaska. Promoted to Lieutenant, USN, in 1983, her next assignment was as Officer-in-Charge of the Navy Alcohol Safety Action Program for the Northern California region, based at Naval Air Station Alameda. There she headed a team that conducted early intervention education for service members identified with substance abuse, as well as awareness training for supervisors. Leslie also did outreach to senior Navy commanders and civilian courts in the area to encourage the use of NASAP training for at-risk service members.


In October 1986, Leslie left the Navy and spent the next couple of decades as a professional actor, mostly in the San Francisco area in regional theatre, commercials, and voiceovers. She moved to Manhattan in 1997, and eventually her “day job” as a magazine copy editor became her third and longest career. She worked for almost 15 years for This Old House. Always an avid do-it-yourselfer, Leslie celebrated the week of her 50th birthday by volunteering on a Habitat for Humanity build in the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina. Her volunteer interests were, indirectly, how she eventually landed in Stamford: For many years This Old House collaborated with Stamford-based HomeFront Inc. in its annual HomeFront Day, and Leslie was an enthusiastic participant, helping repair homes for low-income homeowners in Fairfield County alongside her TOH editorial and TV-show colleagues. In 2012 they worked on a house in Stamford, and Leslie enjoyed the area so much that by September that year she had purchased a home in the Cove neighborhood.


Today, Leslie is the copy chief for the nonprofit Consumer Reports in Yonkers. She is enjoying her first season singing with The Stamford Chorale and is looking forward to someday retiring from the day job and having more time for volunteer and artistic pursuits. She is proud to report that her nieces are a Captain in the Coast Guard and a Major in the Air Force active reserve, and both served in the Middle East. Her father, now 98, has sworn the oath of office to all of his daughters and granddaughters.