Leslie Schaeffer, a 30-year resident of East Hampton, died on Friday at Stony Brook University Medical Center of a stroke, six weeks after emergency spinal cord surgery for a massive infection. She was 66.
Her death came as a shock to members of the South Fork Country Club, where she had been playing her usual determined game of golf not long before the operation. A daughter, Casey Schaeffer, said her mother had been complaining of back pain for a while but thought she had strained her neck.
Ms. Schaeffer, who also belonged to the Racquet Club of East Hampton and East Hampton Indoor Tennis, would try “anything physical,” said her daughter, and stick with it as long as she could. In her 30s, after a career in public relations and two children, she ran the New York City Marathon three times.
“She had a zest for life,” said a friend, Toby Ligorner. “You couldn’t keep her down, she was always on the move. We played golf in the afternoons, because she had to go to the gym for water aerobics in the morning and then play tennis. That was Leslie.”
Ms. Schaeffer also kept busy gardening and reading. In recent years, she taught herself about the stock market and started investing on her own. “She always investigated things. She read the papers. She analyzed it herself,” said Ms. Ligorner. “She didn’t lose much money when the market crashed. She may even have made something.”
Born on Aug. 2, 1946, in Queens, where she grew up, to Ludwig Rosenthal and the former Ruth Neuburger, Ms. Schaeffer graduated from Forest Hills High School and from Boston University. On Dec. 14, 1975, she married Richard Schaeffer. They spent summers and weekends first in Settlers Landing and later on Anvil Court, before leaving New York City and splitting the year between East Hampton and Florida. They were divorced in January after 36 years.
In addition to her daughter Casey, who lives in New York City, Ms. Schaeffer leaves another daughter, Lindsey Schaeffer, also of New York City, and a sister, Linda Steinman of Los Angeles. Funeral services were held on Tuesday at Sinai Chapels in Fresh Meadows, Queens, followed by burial at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, N.Y. The family will receive friends today at 9 Anvil Court, East Hampton.
Memorial donations have been suggested for the American Spinal Injury Association, 2020 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta, Ga. 30309, or the A.S.P.C.A., 424 East 92nd Street, New York 10128.