Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree at her home in Montecito (Aug. 28, 2015)
Paul Wellman

Today is the birthday of Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree, one of the leaders of philanthropy in our city. Her vision and love for Santa Barbara shows in her deep-rooted commitment to nourishing, developing, and enhancing every aspect of our community.

The etymological meaning of the word “philanthropy” is “love of humanity,” and Leslie embodies this thoroughly. I cherish every fleeting moment I get to spend with this generous and devoted patron of Santa Barbara.

This unparalleled citizen answers the Proust questionnaire on her birthday.

What do you like most about you do?

Being with and meeting people. And solving problems!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being able to love. Being able to find things in each day to be thankful for and joyful about.

What is your greatest fear?

My greatest fear is that I might hurt someone or be rude and not know it. Or that I might be thoughtless about someone’s feelings

Who do you most admire?

There are many people I admire. There is something about almost everybody to admire. Almost everyone has a gift or a talent when you take time to really listen to them.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I really don’t know. I think my extravagances change yearly. Maybe going first class when traveling.

What is your current state of mind?

Wonderment. How very amazing the world, people, and life is.

What is the quality you most like in people?

Generosity of spirit.

What is the quality you most dislike in people?

Being closed off.

What do you most value in friends?

Honesty. Integrity.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Doing things correctly.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

What is the issue?

Which talent would you most like to have?

Ability to speak multiple languages well.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would NEVER interrupt anyone when they were speaking

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My family, who are loving and giving.

Where would you most like to live?

Where I am now. Santa Barbara.

What is your most treasured possession?

My faith.

What makes you laugh the most?

Life and my two puppies.

What is your motto?

Carry On

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

There are too many. It depends on the day.

On what occasion do you lie?

When the truth is going to hurt someone.


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