Leslie Vought Kuenne, champion of the arts in Princeton, dies at 58

Leslie Vought Kuenne of Princeton and Shelburne, Vt., died at home surrounded by her loving family on Aug. 12 after a courageous battle with ovarian cancer. She was 58.

The loving wife of Christopher Kuenne, she was a devoted mother to Peter, William and Matthew, and the late Olivia Michelle Kuenne, who died in 1997. 

Leslie was born in Aspen, Colo. on Dec. 29, 1960 to Barbara Vought Harbach and Peter Vought, the artist and son of aviation pioneer Chance Vought. Leslie grew up in Aspen and Santa Barbara and received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California San Diego and her master’s degree in human genetics from Sarah Lawrence College. She was a genetic counselor at Mt. Sinai Hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital, and Abington Hospital.

A champion of the arts, Leslie recently served as president of McCarter Theatre Center’s board of trustees. Under her leadership, the board of trustees completed the Campaign for McCarter, the largest fundraising effort in the history of the theatre, which provided financial stability for the future. She also served on the boards of the Arts Council of Princeton, the Vestry of Trinity Church and as an officer of the Stony Brook Garden Club. An active volunteer in the community, she was a gifted painter, sketch artist, and chef, and an award-winning gardener and nature photographer. Her favorite place to spend family time was Shelburne, where she and her family summered. She will be remembered by her friends and family as someone who imbued her life with love, compassion, and impact.

In addition to her immediate family, Leslie is survived by her sisters Victoria Vought of Southport, Conn., Annie Vought of Oakland, Calif., Pam Harley of Rochester, N.H., and Lisa Setos of Los Angeles, Calif., mother-in-law Janet Kuenne of Princeton, and sister-in-law Carolyn Kuenne Jeppsen and husband David and daughters Charlotte, Isabelle and Mia of Washington, DC.

Her memorial service will be held on Saturday, Aug. 17 at 4 p.m. at Trinity Church on Mercer Street in Princeton. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to the Olivia and Leslie Rainbow Foundation, which provides young children with instruction and access to the arts. Please direct your gift to the foundation c/o Brown Brothers Harriman, PWM-5th Floor, 140 Broadway, NY, NY, 10005.


  1. Exactly. That’s why testicular cancer has been cured, along with prostate cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and all the other kinds of cancers men get. What a ridiculous comment. I mean, seriously.

  2. I’m writing a book on my experiences in Princeton. One of the things I have learned is perfectly illustrated by a remark L. B. Johnson said about one of his political rivals in Texas: “He’s got the hat but he ain’t got the cattle,” meaning, in a roundabout way, what Bertrand Lord Russell said, in a more direct way, when he said Princeton was as much like Cambridge, England as monkeys could make it.
    My first exposure to Princeton intoxicated me with the phenomenon that there was a place so deeply dedicated to high-level reasoning that one could hope for thinking before shooting, a beacon of hope in a country where, in some states, a person with the wrong color can be murdered in broad daylight over a parking place and the ”perp.” go free because he, the Killer, acted in self defense. Alas, Princeton appears to have used its putative advantages in the Descartes area to either ignore causes of Justice right in front of them or to behave like small-minded, monkey-see, monkey-do intellects to support trendy causes.
    I did not know the woman who died so young, but why use her death to hop on the screw-men bandwagon—the cause of the day. What happened to women 50 years ago is happening to men today. People are being tried without, in some cases, even the vaguest hint of due process or a chance to answer their accusers in court.
    I am off the topic. Requiescat in pace Leslie Kuenne

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