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Robert "Bob" R. Leighton
Robert "Bob" R. Leighton, 88, of Salinas, passed away July 28, 2014, at Eden Valley Care Center in Soledad, after a long battle with Alzheimer.
Bob was born in Stockton and lived most of his young life in Lodi. He graduated from Lodi High and was a gifted athlete in baseball, football, and basketball. He later played semi-pro baseball for the Lodi Wine Guild. Bob was raised in the East Side Presbyterian Church in Stockton where he met many of his life-long friends through the youth group. It was here that he met the love of his life and future wife, Sally Piper Leighton.
Bob enlisted in the United States Air Force and was called to service before he graduated from high school. He was the ball turret gunner on a B17 and completed 25 missions over enemy territory during World War II. He was the principal of Live Oak Elementary School, Linden Elementary School, and moved his family to Salinas in 1962 to assume his position as principal of Bardin School. He was the Director of Migrant Education in Stanislaus County. He then began a career in Independent Study, working with potential drop-out students in the Salinas Valley.
Bob loved his family and never stopped telling each of them how proud he was of them and "what a great family we have". He was an avid San Francisco Giants and 49er fan. He loved animals, especially the family pets. No one was a stranger to him, especially children.
Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Sally; sister, Ruth Kirk of San Diego; sons, Ron (Sarah) Leighton of Tacoma, WA, Randy (Tina) Leighton of Stevenson; daughters, Janice Souza, Janie McDougall, both of Salinas and Sally Briggs Leighton of Tacoma, WA; grandchildren, Matt (Jennifer) McDougall, Jarod Leighton, Julie (Anthony) Lamb, Erin (Douglas) King, Ben Leighton, Joe (Brookes) Leighton, Mario Estrada, Jr. and Alma Estrada, Tony (Jackie) Souza, Elaine, Alyson, and Ashleigh Souza, all of Salinas, and many extended family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ray and Ruth Leighton; and his sons-in-law, Dennis McDougall and Sam Souza.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, at Struve and Laporte Funeral Chapel, 41 W. San Luis St., Salinas.
Memorials can be made to Eden Valley Care Center, 612 Main St., Soledad, CA 93960. The family would like to express our sincere appreciation to the staff at Eden Valley who took such wonderful care of Bob.
Funeral arrangements by Struve and Laporte Funeral Home.
Online condolences to www.struveandlaporte.com
Struve and Laporte Funeral Chapel
41 West San Luis Salinas, CA 93901
Published in The Salinas Californian on Aug. 20, 2014