Brett Owen Leis

brett leis

November 23, 1970 ~ October 25, 2023

Born in: Brisbane, Australia
Resided in: Vienna, Virginia

Brett Owen Leis passed away suddenly on October 25, 2023, at the age of 52. He was born on November 23, 1970, in Brisbane, Australia and was a resident of Vienna, Virginia.

Brett was married to Elizabeth Ann (Betsy) and they had one son, Jack Thomas Leis, who was the light of Brett’s life. He was a Senior Chief Petty Officer – Clearance Diver in the Royal Australian Navy for 23 years. He served in multiple theaters around the world, including Somalia and other peace enforcement zones. He served as an Exchange Officer, working with the U.S. Navy between 2006 – 2008 at the Explosive Ordnance and Disposal Training and Evaluation Unit 1 in Point Loma, San Diego. After Brett retired, he worked at the Wesley Center for Hyperbaric Medicine in Brisbane. Most recently, he worked as a much-beloved bus driver with Fairfax County Public Schools, known to countless children as the driver with the funny accent and the Hawaiian shirts.

Brett moved to Vienna with his family in 2016 and quickly became a fixture in the community. His love for Jack was plain for all to see. He was deeply involved in supporting Jack’s school and extracurricular activities and volunteered in numerous roles. He was a Cub Scout Den Leader for Pack 987, served as the swim team representative for the Lakevale Estates Dolphins, and coached the Tigers, the Vienna Little League team. He put his many skills to use when he built Jack a treehouse that is still one of the best properties in the neighborhood. He used his skills and experiences working with ordnances to keep neighbors safe during Fourth of July celebrations.

Over his years of living in Lakevale, he became the informal “mayor” of the neighborhood, and was always there to help with community gatherings, Eagle Scout projects, and neighborhood improvement efforts. He was legendary for the cricket parties he hosted with his wife Betsy, and anyone with a good taste knew to look for any lamb dishes made by Brett because it would be the best lamb you’d ever had. He was an avid golfer and an ardent Eagles and Phillies fan.
Brett is survived by his wife Betsy, his children Jack Leis and Jacqueline Munoz, his beloved dog Bismark, sister Tempe Leis and 11 nieces and nephews. His mother Ricky passed away 6 years ago.

The Leis family will be holding a Celebration of Life at the Vienna Fire Department on Friday, November 10th at 4:30 pm. In honor of Brett, guests are asked to come as you are, especially if that includes wearing your best Eagles or Phillies gear, flannel or Hawaiian shirts. This will be a true celebration of Brett’s life and all are welcome.

In lieu of flowers, a college savings plan has been established for Jack. The gifting page can be found at


Celebration of Life: November 10, 2023 4:30 pm

Vienna Volunteer Fire Department
400 Center St S.
Vienna, VA

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Memories Timeline


  1. Dear Betsy and Jack,

    I initially got to know Brett, fellow dog walker, as the tall Australian guy who walks 200 yards in front of his golden retriever. I talked to him multiple times about this, trying to glean advice as to how to make my own dog trot behind me like a show pony (no success). When I got to know him through the Lakevale Dolphins swim team and pool, I saw that he was a genuinely kind, giving, selfless, and dedicated human being. He was everyone’s cheerleader and fearless leader. He touched so many lives and we are so lucky to have known him. Our hearts break for you during this tragic time and we are so deeply sorry for your loss. We are thinking of you and praying you find comfort and peace.

    Warmest sympathies,
    The Nuzum Family

  2. Betsy, my heart goes out to you and Jack. I can’t begin to imagine what you’re going through but you know at Esri and with EM, you have a team ready to swarm and support you. Same holds true now. Sending love, light and strength,


  3. Thank you for being a role model in my life Mr. Leis. I’ll never forget your kind words and big smile when you’d walk into the pool with jack.

    • Betsy and Jack our hearts go out to you. We only knew Brett for a short while, but our family and I know our neighborhood was grateful he was our kids’ bus driver. He was kind and caring and went above and beyond, including helping kids carry their projects on and off the bus. At the end of the week over the loud speaker he would always wish everyone a wonderful weekend.
      Brett was an Awesome Aussie and he will be greatly missed!!
      The Evers drive/Davis Ct bus crew.

  4. Brett, The Wilkinson family will never forget you!! You were truly a wonderful friendly neighbor. We all enjoyed talking football with you and always looked forward to Aussie beer on Halloween! You were “ Mr Lakevale” !! We were very Blessed to know you “Mate”!!!

  5. Praying for the Leis family. Declan Ryan had the privilege of being coached by Coach Brett in 2021 (VLL – AA & AAA). He was such a fantastic coach dedicated to teaching ball skills while also focused on fun! We will always remember you Coach, Jack & family.

  6. Brett was our beloved neighbor when he, Betsy and Jack lived in Philadelphia. Such an amazing & beautiful spirit! He was so kind and big-hearted, warm, funny, smart & resourceful, and would help us do just about anything. He taught us about the Sunday sesh (never learned how to spell it!), which is time to enjoy with people you enjoy, usually a Sunday afternoon. We are so lucky to have crossed his path and are so grateful for the wonderful times we had with him. He has touched all of our lives forever. Betsy and Jack, our hearts are with you. Sending you so much love ❤️ Jana & Beau Bradley

  7. Our sincere sympathies. Bret took a sincere interest in others. A gift we learned from your family. His kind actions will live on in others, by the example he lived.

  8. Betsy – I want to offer you and Jack my condolences. I never had the opportunity to meet Brett, but from reading his bio and the messages from others, he sounds like an incredible person who had a significant impact to everyone he met. While I can’t make it to DC for his Celebration of Life, I’ll be honoring a fellow Vet on Veteran’s Day, and thinking of you and Jack. Dave

  9. My thoughts are with you. I hope you are finding comfort being with your family and friends during this difficult time.

  10. Betsy/Jack, my name is Genn Soars, I am Brett’s’ first cousin here in Australia, my mother and Brett’s mother were sisters.
    I was so saddened and shocked to hear of Brett’s passing, I am So very sorry for your loss.
    I remember many school holidays with both Brett and Tempe staying over our house and enjoying many outings.
    He had a remarkable life, and reading his Obituary, he certainty filled it.
    My son is in the RAN currently, and Brett’s name is still talked about, for being a tough trainer, but once all done and dusted, was a great man who’s have a beer after training with his fellow RAN staff.
    way too early to go, still hard to believe, I’m in contact with Tempe, as she is still in a state of shock and disbelief. – very saddened by this tragic event.
    Thoughts and prayers are with you and Jack and family-. Tough days ahead, but be assured we are all thinking of you and family from over here is Aust.
    Take care.
    Glenn, Christine, Lauren and Bailey Soars

  11. Mr. Brett was the most amazing bus driver a parent could ask for! My kids loved riding the bus to and from school with him at the wheel! We are all so sorry for your loss!! We miss him and talk about how wonderful he was!!
    The Evers Drive/Davis court bus stop crew

  12. I first say hello to you was in WEST OX garage just last month. And we run the same field trip to Air and Space Museum just weeks ago, and then I heard the sad news.
    We miss you so much.
    Wish you all well in the other world.

  13. HI Betsy,

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I cannot imagine what you and Jack are going through. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and Jack. I have always heard such great things about Brett from you. Please know that if there is anything I can do to help and support you do not hesitate to reach out.

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