The Obit For Art Leighton

Arthur H. Leighton

The Deerfield Review, June 5, 2008

Arthur H. Leighton, a long time resident of Deerfield, died May, 19.

He was born May 15, 1924 in Kansas City, Mo., and grew up in Chicago.

Tennis was his passion. Summers he played tennis at River Forest Tennis Club and in many local, regional and national tournaments. He attended Senn High School where he played basketball and tennis and was coached by his father Harry "Cap" Leighton. He played for Senn's IHSA state championship teams in 1940 and 1942. Mr. Leighton was a doubles finalist with partner Jimmy Evert at the National Interscholastic Championships.

He served in the Navy during World War II. Art is a graduate of Kalamazoo College where he competed on the nationally acclaimed men's tennis team. He was the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association singles champion (1946) and doubles champion (1947, 1948).

After college, he traveled and held many jobs one as a minor league baseball umpire then he moved to Ohio where he raised his family with his wife Dorothy. He taught science and physical education and coached basketball and tennis. He was the head tennis professional at the Toledo Tennis Club and head coach at the University of Toledo men's tennis team.

In 1964, he and his family moved to Deerfield and he became employed with Victor Sports. He was the Midwest sales representative for Davis tennis racquets and Victor strings. Upon seeing promising young players he would encourage them in the sport and give them free racquets. He started his 40 plus year involvement in tennis officiating.

With the Chicago Tennis Umpires Council he officiated youth and adult tennis tournaments for the Chicago District Tennis Association, the IHSA State High School Tennis Tournament and the USTA junior nationals at Kalamazoo for 35 years. He empired college matches at Northwestern University, DePaul, University of Illinois, Chicago, Notre Dame and professional tournaments including the U.S. Open. He also served as a mentor for many new tennis officials. Named Umpire of the Year, in 2005 he received the CDTA Billie Jean King Lifetime Achievement Award which was presented to him by King herself. In 2007, he received the Kalamazoo College Alumni award for athletic excellence in tennis and was inducted into the Kalamazoo College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Mr. Leighton remained an active recreational tennis player at Tennaqua, Northbrook Racquet Club and with the Deerfield "Tennis Bum" at College Park Athletic Club. He played "snow bird" tennis for this team in Sarasota, Fla., in the 1980's and 1990's, winning several team championships. He competed in national level doubles events well into his 70's.

In recent years he served as a lunch room and recess monitor at Walden School in Deerfield and as a crossing guard at White Gate Park in Lincolnshire.

Survivors include his wife of 51 years, Dorothy; his sons, Charles "Corky" (Kathleen) of Northbrook, Stephen (Judith) of Ridgefield, Conn.; his daughters, Judy (Jack) Beinlich of Libertyville and Nancy (Ron) Bearwald of Northbrook; a sister, Marion Theologes of Cameron Park, Calif.; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Funeral service was held on May 23 at the Kelley and Spalding Funeral Home, Highland Park.

Donations may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Deerfield, 824 Waukegan Road, Deerfield IL 60015 or Rainbow Hospice, 444 North Northwest Hwy. Suite 145, Park Ridge, IL 60068.