Leslie A. (Nelson) Haines, 70, of Houston Texas, a prominent energy journalist for many years, died at Dartmouth Hitchcock in Keene, N.H., on February 18, 2022. She passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, after a brief and sudden illness.
Ms. Haines was born on February 9, 1952, in Keene, the daughter of Eunice Nelson and the late Benjamin Nelson. She graduated from Monadnock Regional High School in 1970 and was the class vice president and salutatorian. She was a magna cum laude graduate of Keene State College in 1974, with a degree in education. She also studied at the University de Dijon in Dijon, France, during her junior year, which led to a lifetime love of the French language and culture.
In 1975, Ms. Haines married to the late James Haines. They relocated to the West, and she started her energy journalism career in 1980 at the Williston Daily Herald in North Dakota.
She joined Hart Energy in 1983 in Denver, Colorado and not quite four years later, she moved to Midland, Texas, as energy and business reporter for the Midland Reporter-Telegram. She started with Hart Energy as a copy editor, then began writing for the former Western Oil Reporter magazine before joining the Oil and Gas Investor staff in 1985, where she was named Managing Editor two years later, and then Editor in 1992. In 2016, she moved from the Editor-in-Chief role at Oil and Gas Investor to a corporate role as Executive Editor-at-Large.
Ms. Haines retired from full-time employment in 2019 and returned to her native New Hampshire in July of 2020 where she continued to contribute articles, advice, and counsel for Hart Energy through 2021.
During her 25 years in Houston, Texas, with Hart Energy LLC, Ms. Haines long tenure represented the company with distinction and grace as the principal editor of its flagship publication Oil and Gas Investor. This role earned her the nickname “queen of the oil patch.”
Ms. Haines was highly respected for her integrity, fairness, and her even-handed approach to the issues most important to the energy industry. She conducted countless interviews, including in-depth conversations with leaders in the highest level of American government, such as President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and many Governors, U.S. Senators and U.S. and state Representatives.
Her role at Hart Energy also called for extensive travel, which Ms. Haines deeply enjoyed. She interviewed top diplomats, government officials and industry figures in such far-flung places as Indonesia, China, Equatorial Guinea, Poland, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. Additionally, she crisscrossed the United States, writing articles, giving speeches, and forging and maintaining ties with new and old business partners.
Many awards were bestowed on her, which recognized Ms. Haines’ deep involvement in the energy and publishing communities and her tireless work on their behalf. These included the prestigious Lloyd Unsell Award for Excellence in Petroleum Journalism from the IPAA
(Independent Petroleum Association of America) and Folio’s Top Women in Media Award. The products Ms. Haines oversaw during her time at Hart Energy consistently won the highest awards from professional journalism societies and media groups alike.
As busy as she was, Ms. Haines gave freely of her time and embraced both work and play. She mentored many early-career journalists and was a brilliant role model. She also served as president, past president and board member of the Houston Producers’ Forum and as a board member of the Houston Energy Finance Group. Outside of work, she loved traveling with her mother, spending time with her dear family, reading good books, going to the opera and the theater, and keeping up with politics.
Ms. Haines is survived by her mother Eunice Nelson and her brother Douglas Nelson and his wife Dayle Nelson. She is also survived by her niece Amanda Weglinski and her husband Andrew, and her nephew Garrett Nelson and his wife Elizabeth.
There will be no calling hours and no funeral services at this time.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are requested to be made in the name of Leslie Haines to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center of Houston Texas (www.mdanderson.org).
All services are under the care of Cheshire Family Funeral Home and Crematories, 46 South Winchester St. Swanzey, NH 03446. www.cheshirefamilyfh.com.