Lessie was born in West Virginia. She graduated from the University of Kansas, started law school in Oklahoma, moved to Santa Barbara in 1974 and was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1979.
Her daughter Jessica (1965-1994) had been diagnosed as having Down syndrome, epilepsy and other challenges. Lessie and other caring people in the community (particularly Milton Schmerzier) worked to establish a safe and loving home for Jessica and other young people who needed special care in this area.
The Jessie Hopkins Hinchee Foundation (JHHF) named after Jessica’s Grandmother, was opened in 1981. The second Hinchee Foundation Home, Jessica House, was established to care for more physically fragile residents, this is where Jessica spent her final years.
Having her daughter safe and secure and being able to keep in close contact with her through her brief lifetime allowed Lessie to practice Family Law in Santa Barbara.
Lessie has been on the Hinchee Board since the creation of the JHHF. It has been a joy for her to work with her fellow Board members and the wonderful staff. It is also particularly satisfying for her to see the Hinchee Foundation grow into a well respected and financially stable organization serving people with disabilities and their families.