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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Obituaries

Obituary: Leighton, Jack Richard

Age 96

LEIGHTON, Jack Richard May 10, 1918-April 4, 2015 Jack Leighton, Husband, Father, Uncle, Educator, Veteran, Inventor, Author and dedicated volunteer to the disabled passed away April 4, 2015 at Rockwood Retirement Community.

He was 96 years old.

Jack was born in Boise, Idaho on May 10, 1918 to Ralph and Lucia (Staub) Leighton.

His family moved to Eugene, Oregon where he attended grade and high school.

While attending the University of Oregon, Jack earned his Bachelor, Masters and Doctorate degrees in Education and Physical Education.

Jack married Helen Wirtenberger on July 24, 1942 and they were blessed with one son, James, born in 1944.

During WWII, Jack was a First Lieutenant in the Army responsible for Rehabilitative Work with German soldiers in the P.O.W.

Camp at Camp Forrest, Tullahoma, TN.

After the Army, Jack taught at Penn State and then worked for the Veterans Administration in Oregon.

Jack valued education culminating at Eastern Washington University where he was a Professor, Athletic Director and Head of the Physical Education Department until his retirement in 1982.

During his academic career, Jack was the recipient of many honors and awards for his work.

Along with writing and publishing several books, Jack developed and patented the Leighton Flexometer as a therapeutic assessment, measuring the improvement in flexibility of a person’s limbs.

The Flexometer has been sold in many countries around the world.

Jack and Helen enjoyed many summer visits to their cabin on Kootenay Lake, Canada, including morning swims in the “fresh” waters of the lake.

Social and Square Dancing were among their Spokane activities.

Jack was a dedicated volunteer for Special Olympics, particularly power lifting.

He also served as President of ARC.

Jack was so much more than his accomplishments.

He was a kind, gentle and dedicated man.

Jack is survived by his wife Helen and son Jim, both of Spokane.

His extended family includes two nieces, one nephew, two great nieces, seven great-nephews, one great-great-niece and one great-great-nephew.

The Memorial Service is Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 2:00 pm at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, 1517 E. 33rd Ave.

Please visit Jack’s on line memorial at

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