Judith Leighton
Judith Leighton

Obituary of Judith LeBaron Leighton

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Judith LeBaron Leighton, founder of the renowned Leighton Gallery of Blue Hill, Maine, passed away April 21, 2011 at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA after a brief illness. Born December 6, 1929 in Beverly, MA to Lester B. and Carolyn H. (LeBaron) Leighton, and brought home to 49 Warren Street in Salem, MA. At a young age she moved to St Louis, MO where she attended Maplewood High School and later graduated from Washington University with a dual degree in art and archeology and English literature. Judith Leighton was the loving mother of three children, one of whom Thomas Leighton predeceased her in 1991. Her two other children are Jennifer Gay of Standish, Maine and Peter Leighton of Westford, MA. In addition to her unyielding love of her children Judith treasured and respected art and its creation and this appreciation ultimately led her to fulfill her dream of establishing a contemporary art gallery in 1980 in Blue Hill, Maine. The Leighton Gallery remains held in the highest regard by collectors of all stripes and has been voted the best gallery in Maine. The high esteem for Judith Leighton and the Leighton Gallery is shared not only by critics and visitors, but also by the artists themselves, who appreciated the great respect in which Judith held them. Never one to succumb to the allure of the easy or most profitable course, she held true to her gift for choosing and displaying works of genuine creativity and vision, even those that may have had little obvious commercial promise. The Leighton Gallery's success and longevity is a tribute to Judith's obvious joy and enthusiasm for the creativity embodied there. In addition to her devotion to collecting and curating, Judith also was an accomplished and extensively collected artist in her own right, primarily in the pastel medium, and her works now hang in collections worldwide. The same level of passion played out in her daily life and was apparent to all who knew her. Her humility was a characteristic trademark seen as often as her commitment to ideals of fairness and generosity. She was usually the last to take credit and the first to encourage and praise others. She continually urged loved ones to be mindful of the brevity of earthly life and to act and follow their dreams, and admonishing them to overlook setbacks or burdens of past injuries or loss and look forward to the potential good each day held. Having lost her eldest son to murder and facing myriad other adversities, Judith stood as an encouraging example to others of the fine art of "getting over it" and pushing ahead with optimism. The Leighton Gallery will continue to operate as planned by Judith under the management of her family. In addition to her two children, Judith is survived by two grandchildren Judith (Jodie) Wright of Portland, Maine and Andrew Wright of Standish, Maine as well as a great grandchild Robert Wheeler of Portland Maine and her long-term loving companion Ebenezer Stevens Wright. Judith married (1954) and later divorced (1958) Thomas Ostertag. She later married (1959) and divorced (1980) Andrew J Gay, MD. A private family ceremony and internment in Blue Hill, Maine was conducted and a memorial and celebration of her life at the Leighton Gallery will be held in the weeks ahead. Memorial contributions can be made in Judith Leighton's name to the Ark Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 276, Cherryfield ME 04622, (207) 546-3484, theark@midmaine.com donations of property items may also be made to the Ark at their Thrift Shop located across from the fairgrounds in Blue Hill. Arrangements were handled by Riposta Funeral Home in Belfast Maine and online condolences can be left at www.ripostafh.com.
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Judith Leighton

In Loving Memory

Judith Leighton

1929 - 2011

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