The grandson of a lawyer and the son of a doctor, Dr. Leslie F. Bond, Sr., grew up in a city and in a country that sought to limit his accomplishments because of his race.
They failed. Badly so. Dr. Bond became, without question, our leading citizen. A chronicle of Dr. Bond's life in St. Louis contains a whole litany of "firsts." A recitation of his distinguished career in the city is a lengthy catalog of "lifetime achievements."
Dr. Bond was a quiet man, but not a silent one. His reasoned voice was heard ' and listened to -- in classrooms, in surgeries, and in corporate board rooms. Every living mayor of St. Louis relied on his wise counsel. He was on the very short list of people whose calls to my office do not pass through a secretary.
I saw a line in his obituary that I thought well summed-up Dr. Bond's character: "A lifetime of indignities could not diminish his kindness." As the frequent recipient of that kindness, I tell his grieving family, friends, and city, that I too will miss him sorely.
Les Bond, Sr.'s passing at the age of 85 leaves a void which we are all challenged to fill. Not every enemy that Dr. Bond faced has been completely vanquished. Vestiges of the ignorance, fear, and prejudice of his youth still remain, awaiting new challengers. And ' particularly - the backwards resistance of some members of the state legislature to the expansion of Medicaid will need new champions to articulate the arguments for expansion that Dr. Bond made for decades.
But no road ahead is as difficult as it would have been had Les Bond not traveled it ahead of us. And, for that, we must thank and honor him.