Dr. Raymond Leidig, a man who gave voice to the mentally ill, developmentally disabled, and incarcerated, passed away on November 21, 2023. He was 93.
Leidig was born on November 25, 1929, in New York City, NY, to Hertha Ladentin and later adopted by Karl Leidig. After graduating from Stroudsburg High School in Stroudsburg, PA, he enlisted in the US Navy in its Submarine Service.
He attended the University of Washington, Seattle, WA, from which he received his Doctor of Medicine Degree. Leidig held many positions in Northern State Hospital, Sedro Wooley, WA culminating as Director of Psychiatric Services.
Upon leaving that hospital he became Director of Snohomish County Mental Health Services. There he developed programs for a county of 265,000 residents who previously had no formal mental health program. He was instrumental in establishing the Community Mental Health movement in the United States.
Ray moved to Boulder in 1973. He worked as a Psychiatric Consultant and Chief of the Division of Mental Health, Department of Institutions, and then as its Assistant Director.
Governor Richard D. Lamm appointed Dr. Leidig Executive Director of the Department of Institutions, a Cabinet position he held from 1975-1981. After leaving the Directorship he worked as a psychiatrist for Boulder County Mental Health Center and as Medical Director of its Drug-Alcohol section. From 1983-1990, Leidig served as a National Consultant Surveyor for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals.
His memberships included the American Medical Association and the ACLU. He was a member of the Democratic Party. Leidig was an expert on Standards of Care in Mental Hospitals, Prisons and Jails. He always said that his life’s work was providing a voice for those who had none.
Ray was a man of many interests. He loved fishing, skiing, hiking, baseball, and theater and had an extensive stamp collection. Ray and Jill traveled extensively. He was affectionately called a “ding-a-ling” for his extensive bell collections. He also loved to sing and was a member of Generations Choir for many years. A very special group of men meet every Saturday morning to have breakfast and solve the problems of the world. It was a weekly event Ray wouldn’t miss.
Ray is survived by his wife, Jill London, Boulder, CO, and 6 children: Laurie Skipworth, Peter Leidig (Patty), Tim Leidig (Amy), Tom Stoll (Kimberly), Sara Spalding (Matt), Dick Charge (Ellen) and 13 grandchildren.
A celebration of life is planned for Saturday, January 13, 2024, in the Community House at Chautauqua Park,301 Morning Glory Drive, Boulder, CO 80302 from 1-4 PM. A time of reflection will begin at 2 PM. Memorial contributions can be made to the ACLU of Colorado or the Southern Poverty Law Center.