Rear Admiral Leon G. Telsey was born in Brookly, New York, on 18 April 1907. After attending local grade and high schools, he entered Cornell University and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1927. In the same year he enrolled in graduate study and received a Bachelor of Laws degree from Harvard Law School in 1931. He then became associated with the law firm of Kugel and Telsey in New York City, and remained with this firm until 1934 when he accepted a position in the legal department of the New York City office of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. He served as Assistant Chief and later as Chief of the legal department. He resigned from this position during World War II to enter the military service of the United States.
Leon G. Telsey was commissioned a lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard Reserve in April 1943. His first duty station was on the staff of the District Coast Guard Officer, 3rd Naval District, New York, New York, where he was assigned as training officer in the Auxiliary Division. During this tour of duty he authored several manuals and pamphlets designed for use as training aids within the Coast Guard. In January 1945, he was assigned to duty afloat aboard the U.S.S. General M.C. Meigs, a Coast Guard manned transport vessel operating principally in the European Theater. While serving as Assistant Navigator and later as Navigator aboard this vessel, he was promoted to the grade of lieutenant commander. In March 1946, he was transferred back to the office of the District Coast Guard Officer in New York City, and after a short tour on the staff, was released from active duty in June 1946 pursuant to general demobilization.
After his release from active service following World War II, Leon G. Telsey rejoined his former law firm and has continued in the private practice of law. He is presently a partner in the law firm of Telsey and Lowenthal, 641 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York.
In 1949, when the first Coast Guard Reserve training unit to be formed in the New York City area was commissioned, he was assigned to duty in that unit, and has maintained a continuous membership in Coast Guard Reserve training since that time. He is currently assigned to VTU 03-88135 in New Rochelle, New York. He served as commanding officer of this unit from 1 July 1951 to 30 June 1952, and again from 1 July 1963 to 30 June 1964. During the period of his membership in Coast Guard Reserve training units, he was promoted to the grade of commander in 1955, to the grade of captain in 1962, and to Rear Admiral on 19 May 1966.
He is married to the former Evelyn Kennedy W. of Springfield, Massachusetts. The Telseys have one son, Steven W. Telsey, and a daughter, Nadia M. Telsey.