Master Gunnery Sergeant James Leroy Leighton, U.S.M.C., retired, age 78, a 29-year resident of Bullhead City, Ariz. closed his eyes on this earth and opened them in paradise on Saturday, March 2, 2013, after a long, courageous battle with lung cancer.

He was born February 26, 1935 in Rutland, S.D. to Robert and Hildred Leighton.

James joined the Marine Corps in 1953, and retired in 1981. During his 28+ years of service, "Top" Leighton was stationed at Camp McNair, Japan, MCAGCC 29 Palms, Calif., Washington D.C., Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Okinawa, Camp Pendleton, MCRD San Diego (as a Drill Instructor), Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Canberra, Australia. He also served 2 tours of duty in Vietnam.

He moved to Bullhead City, Ariz. in 1984, and worked at JB's Drive-Thru Liquor and Soper Mart for several years before finally retiring.

He was active in the VFW Post #10005, and a member of the American Legion and 1st Marine Division.

James was preceded in death by his sister, Phyllis Jean Arne; and brother, Eugene Raymond Leighton.

James is survived by his loving companion of over 20 years, Jeannette Dawson; daughter, Kathryn (Donald) Barber, of Morganton, N.C.; brother, Robert (Rita) Leighton, Jr., of Madison, S.D.; and granddaughter, Sarah Hubbard, of Bullhead City, Ariz.; nephews, Terry (Sheryl) Arne, Jeff (Roxanne) Leighton, Bobby Leighton, James Leighton, and Eugene Leighton, Jr.; nieces, Sandy Earl, Barbara Stewart, and Michelle (Pat) Moller; numerous great-nieces and nephews; and his best canine friend, Stubbie.

Graveside services were held on Saturday, March 9, 2013, at Desert Lawn Memorial Gardens.

Funeral Home

Desert Lawn Funeral Home
9250 S. Ranchero Lane Mohave Valley, AZ 86440
(928) 768-5959

Published in Mohave Daily News Online from Mar. 12 to Mar. 19, 2013