In Memoriam: The Rev. Lesslie Anbari


Lesslie J. (Wagner) Anbari died March 20, 2016, at Seton Medical Center Williamson in Round Rock, Texas. She was born March 27, 1937, in Akron, Ohio, to Margaret J. (Evans) and Frank L. Wagner.

She spent her school years in Dubuque, Iowa, where she graduated from Dubuque Senior High School and was active in church, school, and the community. She graduated from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois.

She married Abdul Ghani Anbari on August 19, 1961, in Chicago. He preceded her in death in 2011.

Rev. Anbari was ordained as the third woman Minister of Word & Sacrament by the Presbytery of Chicago in 1964. She served as an associate pastor at Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, Illinois, where she focused on youth ministries. She went on to be the minister at Plainville Christian Church, Plainville, New York; associate pastor at Central Congregation Church, Topeka; and interim minister at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Topeka. She retired and remained active until recently at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Topeka.

She also practiced as a Certified Pastoral Counselor in Syracuse, New York, and Topeka, and was a member of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. Throughout her life, Lesslie advocated for women's rights, interfaith relations, social justice, and peace, especially with the Topeka Center for Peace & Justice. She was an active member of the Presbytery of Northern Kansas and P.E.O. in Topeka. In retirement, she remained a Teaching Elder in the Presbytery.

She is survived by son, David L. Anbari and wife, Angelique, of Atlanta, Georgia; son, Alan R.Anbari, and wife, Sara, of Austin, Texas; granddaughters, Leona and Julia Anbari; grandson, Aren Anbari; and various cousins and their families. As was her wish, Lesslie Anbari was cremated. A memorial service will be at 2:00 PM on Saturday April 16, 2016, at Trinity Presbyterian Church, with Rev. Kate Huddelson and Rev. Alden Hickman, also a McCormick alum, officiating. The family will meet with friends at the church beginning at 1:30 PM before the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given to Trinity Presbyterian Church, 4746 SW 21st Street, Topeka, Kansas 66604.