Leslie Hartsell

June 1, 1959 ~ April 11, 2022 (age 62)


The Celebration of Life for Leslie Hartsell will be at 10:00 AM, Sat., April 16, 2022 at Wheeler Mortuary Chapel with Pastor Johnny Funderburg officiating. Following the service, burial will be at Causey Cemetery with Jeremy Ruiz, Justin Ruiz, Joel Ruiz, Corbin Ruiz, Caleb Ruiz and Teal Ruiz serving as pallbearers. Afterwards there will be a lunch at the Causey Community Center, kindly hosted by the Causey Women’s Club. The family will receive guests at the funeral home on Friday, April 15, 2022 from 6 to 8 PM.

Leslie Hartsell, retired Fishery Biologist, was born in Portales, New Mexico on June 1, 1959 and died on  April 11, 2022 at the home of Justin and Shelly Ruiz in Shallowater, TX where she had been residing since March. She was the oldest of four children of Herb and Joyce (Pool) Hartsell. She married Jack Ruiz in 1976 in Portales, NM. Three children were born to this union: sons Jeremy, Justin, and Joel. In June 2010 she married Michael Pokladnik, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, D.C.

In 1991, she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Wildlife Management from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, NM. She then attended the University of Arizona in Tucson where she was awarded her Master of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries Science. She began her career with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 1994 as a Fishery Biologist and retired in March 2020 after serving 26 years as a public servant.

Leslie was a true pioneer and Renaissance woman, with many talents, interests and areas of knowledge. Her hobbies and interests took her in many directions: hunting, fishing, camping, ultra-running, and hiking.  For the last several years she was an avid thrift store shopper.

Leslie was an amazing Christian who loved the Lord and dedicated her life to serving Christ. She was a joyful, loving and kind woman. Leslie had a song of praise and joy for the Lord in her voice, a sparkle of Christ’s light in her eyes, and an undying love for Jesus in her heart.

Leslie was blessed with a large and loving family. She was preceded in death by her grandparents Gene and Helen (Clifton) Pool, father Herb Hartsell, husband Michael Pokladnik, and grand-daughter Aspen Salazar Ruiz; uncle Norris Pool; and the father of her three sons Jack Ruiz, and his parents Genaro and Rita Ruiz.

She is survived by: her mother Joyce (Pool) Hartsell, Clovis, NM; three sons Jeremy Ruiz and wife Sarah, Wimberly, TX, Justin and Shelly Ruiz, Shallowater, TX, and Joel and Jennifer Ruiz, Wylie, TX; brother Jeff Hartsell, Phoenix, AZ, sister Rita Noret and husband Steve, Litchfield Park, AZ, brother Scott Hartsell and wife Sara, Phoenix, AZ;  five grandchildren Majrlie Ruiz, Corbin Ruiz, Teal Ruiz, Caleb Ruiz and Abby Ruiz; nieces Heather Noret, Ayse Kiil and Glenn, and nephew Bradley Hartsell; three great nieces Emma Noret, Stevie Kiil and Tallinn Kiil; and two uncles Sidney and Fran Pool, Amarillo, TX and Wesley and Saundra Pool, Clovis, NM. She is also survived by many loving cousins and relatives. Throughout her life she truly enjoyed and appreciated her family, colleagues and friends and will be greatly missed.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Leslie, please visit our floral store.


Funeral Service
April 16, 2022

10:00 AM
Wheeler Mortuary Chapel
500 E Third St
Portales, NM 88130

Video is available for this event

© 2022 Wheeler Mortuary. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility