WATERTOWN, NY — Leah Mae Sheldon Carlisle, wife of Thomas Dwight Carlisle and a longtime resident of Watertown, passed away peacefully June 21, 2022, at Laurelwood Assisted Living in Dayton, Ohio. Leah Mae led a loving, caring life as a wife, mother, educator and proponent of justice.
Leah Mae was born Oct. 14, 1938, in Watertown, daughter of Lyle Ernest and Ethel (Finley) Sheldon. Copenhagen was her first home and then her family moved to Watertown when she was a young child. In 1956, she graduated from Watertown High School and in 1961 graduated from Syracuse University with her bachelor’s of science degree in Nursing. She went on to the University of Pittsburgh receiving her master’s degree in Nursing Education, then attended SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse, where she received her Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Advanced Certificate.
On April 17, 1965, she married Thomas D. Carlisle at Asbury United Methodist Church in Watertown, NY officiated by Rev. Thomas John Carlisle and Rev. W. Russell Clark.
Leah Mae served in the United States Navy from 1961-1963 in Portsmouth, Virginia. After being honorably discharged she taught practical nursing in the Man Power Program and was a clinical instructor at the University of Pittsburgh. Leah Mae was a night relief supervisor in Port Jefferson, Long Island and in the early 1970s was a nurse in the maternity ward and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for the House of the Good Samaritan.
Leah Mae chose to stay home to raise her three daughters, Maria, Maeleah and Naomi and instilled in them a passion for a strong faith, musical talents and creativity. As the children grew up, she returned to work as a nurse at the Samaritan Medical Center, then taught as an Assistant Professor and Associate Professor at Jefferson Community College before being promoted to Chair of the Nursing Department, retiring in 1997.
Leah Mae was an active volunteer, peacemaker and leader, volunteering as a certified La Leche League Leader, a Court Appointed Special Advocate, an instructor for GED classes through the Watertown Urban Mission, a Girl Scout and Brownie Leader, and a member of the board of directors for the Neighborhood Center of Utica, NY, and a Stephen Minister. As a long time member of Asbury United Methodist Church, she assisted with Christian Education in multiple roles including Superintendent of Sunday School, past president of Northern Flow District of the Upper New York Conference, Past President of United Methodist Women’s Conference of North Central New York for four years, North Central Episcopacy Conference Committee member, founding member of the United Methodists for Kairos Response and secretary emeritus, and co-chair of the Upper NY Conference Task Force for Peace with Justice for Palestine/Israel.
Surviving besides her husband Tom, are three daughters, Maria Lisa Castellucci, Pound Ridge, NY, Maeleah Kristin Carlisle, Newington, CT, Naomi Ruth (Michael) Louis, New Carlisle, OH, two grandchildren, Elliana and Chiara, and many beloved nieces, nephews and cousins.
A memorial service will be held Friday, July 22, 10:00 am at Asbury United Methodist Church in Watertown, NY, with burial to follow on Saturday in Brookside Cemetery with military honors.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the “Lyle E. and Ethel F. Sheldon Memorial Scholarship” through the Jefferson Community College Foundation, 1220 Coffeen Street, Watertown, NY 13601 to support nursing students at www.sunyjefferson.edu/jccgiving or call 315-786-2326.
Arrangements are with D.L. Calarco Funeral Home, Inc.
Online condolences may be made at www.dlcalarco.com.