Moreen Le Fleming Ehly died peacefully in the early morning hours of December 26, 2012 at her home in Lake Forest, CA. She was 83. Moreen was born March 16, 1929 in Heliopolis, Egypt, the third daughter of Edward Ralph and Irene Louise Le Fleming. Though she spent her earliest years in London, the majority of her childhood and years leading up to her early twenties were spent in the cities of Cairo and Heliopolis, Egypt.
In her late teens, Moreen competed in track and field as an amateur athlete representing sporting clubs in Cairo and Heliopolis. She taught kindergarten classes to many adoring pupils at Victoria College prep school for boys. Moreen also worked for a short time at the British Middle East Office (BMEO) in Cairo, which made her privy to many behind the scenes political changes occurring throughout the Middle East at that time. A noted beauty, Moreen also earned the title of Miss Egypt of 1949.
It was no surprise that during her visits to the sporting clubs in Cairo that Moreen caught the eye of her future husband, Robert, a United States Marine stationed in Cairo as an embassy guard in 1951. Much of their courtship was spent touring Egypt, with Moreen riding sidesaddle on the back of Robert’s Harley Davidson motorcycle.
In January 1952, Moreen and her mother fled Egypt during the Black Saturday riots in Cairo and settled in London, It was a difficult adjustment for them at a time marked by the stringent postwar food rationing and the legendary London fog of 1952.
Robert soon reunited with Moreen in London and they married on December 21, 1952. Getting Moreen legally into the United States would prove difficult, and it was only through the efforts of Ralph Edwards, the host of the Truth or Consequences show, that cut through the red tape. Robert appeared as a contestant on the show to judge a beauty contest. On stage, models and starlets were to pop out of oversized advertisement product containers. Moreen popped out of a huge Pet Milk can, much to Robert’s surprise and joy.
Moreen began life as the wife of a United States Marine, and during her husband’s tours of duty overseas, she made homes in Los Angeles and San Clemente, California. Moreen spent many days at the beach, soaking up the sun and swimming far out into the sea.
With the birth of sons, Vincent and Kurtis, and daughter Juliet, the family moved to Santa Ana, California, where Moreen did what few women did at that time without their husbands’ approval- she purchased a home.
In the late 60’s, Moreen returned to the workplace at Sears at South Coast Plaza, and steadily broke through numerous glass ceilings, becoming one of the first women commission salespersons. Hard working, intelligent, and ever a lady, she earned the respect and friendship of her predominantly male counterparts.
Moreen and Robert eventually settled in Lake Forest, California. She loved the eucalyptus forest that surrounded her home, and enjoyed many days with her children poolside at the Sun and Sail Club. The family also spent many summer days at the beach, where all the children learned to bodysurf.
Upon her retirement from Sears, Moreen pursued a second career as an author. In all, Moreen had four horror novels published by Leisure Books: Obelisk, Totem, Evil Eye and StarPrey., all deemed classic 80’s pulp horror by growing followers of the genre.
Through it all Moreen managed to devote most of her time to her family, particularly her many grandchildren. “Gramma” helped to raise and support all of her grandchildren, providing them with fond memories of the special times they shared: daily trips to the club, feeding ducks at the local pond, day trips to Laguna Beach, freshly baked cookies out of the oven, and shopping at the local mall. One of the most memorable traditions was of the annual family gatherings during Easter, Thanksgiving. and Christmas. Setting the table with her best Spode china and crystal, Gramma served delicious, home-baked meals that are remembered to this day.
We will always remember her intelligence, her strength, her devotion to her family and her ability to bring all of us together to enjoy special occasions.
On July 15, 2013, Moreen’s ashes were scattered just off the coast of Laguna Beach, California with the help of our friends from Journey with Wings. As Moreen’s husband, Robert, her 3 children, 5 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren stood on the beach and watched the plane soar over the water, we all agreed that we could not have planned a more perfect way to honor our mother’s last wishes.