Saturday, October 17, 2009

We lost a friend yesterday...

We learned yesterday that Leslie Engle, affectionately known as "the Shrew," passed away at 3:45 am.

The Shrew is - was - the owner and founder of the Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire in Philomath, Oregon.

For fourteen years, since its inception, my husband has been the site manager of the Faire and a dear, close friend of Leslie.

She's been in desperately poor health for the past two years so her death is not surprising. Just rivetingly sad.

My favorite story about the Shrew:

Many years ago, Leslie loved going to the Northern California Renaissance Faire (which used to be in Blackpoint, Novato but has since moved to Casa de Fruta). Her "schtick" was a goose puppet nestled in a basket.

She would walk around Faire with her arm inside the goose puppet and talk with children. She was wonderful with children.

One day at Faire, a strange man in dark sunglasses walked up and started talking to her goose. The goose talked back. Back and forth, forth and back, they threw fast, witty, hilarious barbs for several minutes, Robin Williams-style, until they both collapsed with laughter.

The man said, "Wow. You make a great Mother Goose."

Leslie wiped her eyes and said, "Thanks. You make a great Robin Williams."

The man tipped down his sunglasses, looked her straight in the eye, and said "Thanks." He pushed his sunglasses back up and walked away.

Leslie stared after him, mouth agape. She'd just spent the last five minutes trading quips with Robin Williams himself.

May you rest in peace, Leslie. You are deeply loved.


  1. What a lovely story. I am so sorry your friend has passed on.

    Bill Smith

  2. What a great story about such a remarkable woman.

  3. Wow--that is quite a story. So sorry to hear of her passing, keeping her family and friends in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. I am very sad to hear of Leslie's passing....I had no idea she had been ill. I lost contact with her many years ago. I had known about her Faire but I've never managed to get up there to it....I had heard of Ken's passing and thought I might make it up there but then, of course, life I'm even more sorry that I didn't find a way...

    I met Leslie, and Ken, when all three of us worked for a company down here in Orange County, CA. Before they were together. I remember them both as wonderful people.

    May they both Rest in Peace.

    Lisa Murway