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Grace Leighton

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Grace Leighton Obituary
GRACE H. LEIGHTON, 86 ROCKFORD - Grace H. Leighton, 86, of Rockford, died peacefully at home May 12, 2014, surrounded by family. Born May 11, 1928, in Baltimore, Md., she was the daughter of Dr. Carl G. and Eva (Rettenmeyer) Hartman. Graduated 1946 co-valedictorian of Urbana High School in Urbana, Ill., and 1950 University of Illinois (College of Education). Married high school sweetheart, Richard T. Leighton, on Feb. 4, 1950, in Champaign, Ill., and moved to Rockford upon graduation that June. Grace taught 2nd grade for 2 years at Hallstrom School, Rockford. She has been a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church since 1954 (Norton Circle, Hospitality Committee, Deacon, Stephens Minister, and Sunday school teacher). She was a life member of the YWCA, a member of the Symphony Orchestra Guild, Junior League of Rockford, Pi Beta Phi Sorority Alumni Club, and University Club, and a former member of Forest Hills Country Club. An avid civic volunteer and a generous philanthropist, Grace was co-recipient of the 2005 Outstanding Philanthropist award in Rockford. She served on the boards of Rockford Day Nursery, YWCA, Rockford Symphony Orchestras, and Junior League of Rockford. Grace also volunteered at Washington Park Community Center, Swan Hillman School, and Meals on Wheels. A very social person, Grace loved being with her family and many dear friends. She enjoyed nature, especially birds, flowers, and animals. Her favorite hobbies were entertaining, sewing and other needlework, refinishing old furniture, playing tennis, and bowling. She was a strong supporter of Chief Illiniwek of the U of IL and maintained a large collection of Chief memorabilia at the family cottage in Wisconsin. Grace is survived by her husband, Richard T. Leighton; daughters, Nancy (Mark) Liebetrau of Erie, Colo., Barbara (Brent) Johnson of Belvidere, and Linda Sue Leighton of Madison, Wis.; grandchildren, Eric (Signe) Liebetrau of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., Ben (Cameron) Liebetrau of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., Melissa (Ruben) Bonales of Chicago, Joel Johnson of Roscoe, Sara Johnson of Rockton, Megan (John) McKenzie of Madison, and Whitney (Kirk) Estlick of Scottsdale, Ariz.; great-grandchildren, Madeline Pfundstein, Jocelyn and Trevor Johnson, and Ada Liebetrau; sister-in-law, Marge Hartman; and several cousins, nephews and nieces. Predeceased by parents; brothers, Carl, Philip, and Paul Hartman; and infant daughter, Judy Kay. The family greatly appreciated the loving care of 24/7 caregivers, Marisa Bernachea and Jola Smith, as well as the exceptional services of Northern IL Hospice. Memorial service will be at 11 a.m. May 27, 2014, in Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2821 Bell School Rd., with Rev. Dr. William Ward officiating. Memorial visitation from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. prior to the service in the church. In lieu of flowers, a memorial gift may be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2821 Bell School Rd., Rockford, IL 61107; Wesley Willows Good Samaritan Endowment, 4141 N. Rockton Ave., Rockford, IL 61103; Northern Illinois Hospice, 4215 Newburg Rd., Rockford, IL 61108; or UW Carbone Cancer Center, 600 Highland Ave., Madison, WI 53792. Arrangements by Olson Funeral & Cremation Services, Ltd. To share a memory or condolence, visit olsonfh.com.
Published in Rockford Register Star from May 14 to May 15, 2014
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