Leslie Robert Qual, 63

Published 10:07 am Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Leslie Robert Qual, 63, of Punta Gorda, Fla., and formerly of Austin, died on June 6, 2014, from liver cancer.



Les was born in Thief River Falls, Minn., to Robert and Alice Redmon Qual and grew up in Austin where he graduated from Austin High School in 1969. He attended Austin Community College before graduating from Bemidji State College in 1973 with a degree in business. After working in Minneapolis for a few years, Les moved to Florida where he bagan a life-long love of the sea and sailing. He married Anche Maria Johnston on Nov. 24, 1978. Over the years he worked in the accounting departments for Irwin Yacht and Marine Corp., Pfizer Inc, Smith and Nephew and Coca-Cola.

Les earned a U.S. Coast Guard Master Mariner license allowing him to captain ships up to 52 tons, and was trained in celestial navigation. He and Maria spent many days and weeks planning trips and sailing the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Their voyages were long or short depending on time, but they always enjoyed exploring the endless beaches, reefs and ports along the way whether from their sailboat, on foot, or while snorkeling or diving. Les also enjoyed racing his sailboat and participated in regattas in the St. Petersburg and Clearwater area once winning his division in the Michelob Cup races. He served as treasurer of the Clearwater Marine and Science Museum.

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Les was precedeed in death by his father, Robert Qual of Austin; and his brother, James Qual of Austin.

He is survived by his wife, Maria, of Punta Gorda; his mother, Alice Qual of Austin; sisters, Nancy Qual of Austin, Cathy (Gary) Stypula of Boulder, Colo., Shirley Qual (Mark Bearss) of Mahtomedi, Minn., and Susan (Tim) Nixon, of Hudson, Wis.; nieces Caitlin (Ron) Harder, and Alice and Annie Bearss; nephews Tommy Stypula (Lorena), and William and Charlie Nixon; and grand-nephew, Trevor Harder.

A memorial service will be held at St. Olaf Lutheran Church on Saturday, July 19, at 1:30 p.m., with visitation one hour before the service. The family prefers memorials be made to the Austin Area Foundation Qual Family Memorial Fund.