Former HPISD Board President Leslie Long Melson Dies at 65

Former Highland Park ISD board president Leslie Long Melson died Jan. 24 at age 65.

Melson graduated from Richardson High School in 1973. She then studied art at SMU, where she quickly found a home in Kappa Alpha Theta.

She and Jim Melson married at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in 1978 and had four children – Jed, Ann Melson Higginbotham, Ellen Melson Kershaw and John – all HP graduates.

Melson served on the HPISD board of trustees from 2006-2015, and as board president from 2010 until her retirement. She also served as President of the SMU Alumni Association and as a member of the SMU board of trustees, HP Education Foundation board, La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas board, UP Library board, numerous PTA boards, and as Mad for Plaid co-chair.

A service will be held at 2 p.m. Feb. 14 at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, where she served as an elder. Because of COVID-19 safety  protocols, the service is by invitation only, but will be available by livestream at

In lieu of flowers, the family asks those who’d like to to contribute to Kershaw’s Challenge.

(This story has been updated to reflect that Melson’s sorority was Kappa Alpha Theta, not Kappa Alpha).

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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