Lesley was a woman of ideas, and it’s amazing to think about just how many ideas she had and how far she took them. The Nuckolls Fund was one of her ideas. If not for Lesley’s collecting the initial $40,000 in funding, having her office put together the initial paperwork for becoming incorporated as a 501/c/3 charitable organization, it simply wouldn’t exist today. When she started, she didn’t really know what she would do with the money she was collecting but she knew she wanted to create a foundation to honor her friend, Jim Nuckolls and that was enough for her. And that was also enough for those who knew her because no one could refuse Lesley and they knew they could trust her with their donations until she, and others of course, had the fund on track.
That was another of Lesley’s incomparable qualities. She knew how to get other people excited about her ideas and willing to help her with them. She could always find worker bees to follow up on her initial concepts. The IALD itself may not have been her idea alone but she helped to form it. The IALD internship program was yet another idea and that’s one that has evolved over the years. The IALD Lighting Industry Resource Council LIRC was her idea and although it’s had its difficulties, it’s still around and seems to be gaining more and more support.
Lesley was a very humble person never asking for acknowledgment of all her hard work on anything. She was pleased with results but actually rather shy about taking compliments. She just wanted to have a chance to realize the ideas that she had imagined. And she had an imagination that was totally unbound.
To honor her years of tireless devotion to The Nuckolls Fund, in 2004, The Nuckolls Fund Board of Directors renamed one of their grants The Lesley Wheel Introductory Lighting Program Grant.