Cover photo for Lesley McAllister's Obituary
Lesley McAllister Profile Photo
1970 Lesley 2017

Lesley McAllister

May 5, 1970 — August 30, 2017

Lesley Krista McAllister, 47, died on Aug. 30, 2017, after almost four years of living with neuroendocrine (atypical carcinoid) lung cancer. Lesley was a devoted daughter, sister, aunt, friend, wife, mother and professor.

Born in 1970 in Cincinnati, Lesley attended high school at Ursuline Academy and college at Princeton University, and graduate school at the Energy & Resources Group at UC Berkeley (M.A. 1997; Ph.D. 2004) and Stanford (J.D. 2000). From early adulthood she had many remarkable adventures, including traveling in Asia, hiking the northern section of the Appalachian Trail, and serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica. Indeed, throughout her life she amassed a tremendous travelogue of independent hiking, cycling and research-related adventures, often on her own and always intrepid, invariably gathering new friends and admirers along the way.

In 2001, she married Andrew McAllister; they joyfully welcomed their son Nathan in 2003 and their daughter Erin in 2007. From 2005, she taught environmental law, first at the University of San Diego School of Law and then at UC Davis Law School. Lesley possessed a fierce and incisive intellect, unwavering integrity and a formidable work ethic, as well as a deeply held and disarming humility and a massive capacity for empathy. That remarkable combination primed her emergence as a stellar and widely respected academic devoted to generating knowledge for enhancing the public good.

Her writing focused on the role of law and regulation — in the U.S. and other countries across the world — in addressing climate change and other environmental problems. She left the world a better place than she encountered.

Lesley is survived by her husband, Joseph Andrew McAllister of Davis; their children Nathan Lawrence McAllister and Erin Krista McAllister; parents Deanne and Barry Barnhorn of Cincinnati; sister Sheree Gravely (Alan) of Chagrin Falls, Ohio; brother James Bradley Barnhorn (Jayne Hillman) of Mill Valley, California; aunts Carol Cassini, Virginia Witt and Sondra Merusi; brother-in-law John McAllister; sister-in-law Margaret McAllister Buchholz; nieces Jordan Gravely, Mary McAllister and Caroline Buchholz;and nephews Trevor Gravely, Mitchell Gravely and William McAllister.

A celebration of her life will begin at 4 p.m. today at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, 27074 Patwin Road. A reception will immediately follow the service.

Memorial contributions can be made in Lesley’s name to any of the following:
• Insight Retreat Center:
• Saranaloka Foundation:
• Camp Kesem of Davis:

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Lesley McAllister, please visit our flower store.


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