BRIDGTON – Dr. Peter A. Leighton, 48, beloved husband, father, son, brother, uncle and doctor, died peacefully in his sleep on June 29, 2021 in the arms of his loving wife and children at Androscoggin Home Health Care and Hospice in Auburn, Maine. He died after a brave battle of a recurring brain tumor (May 2020) that was first diagnosed in 2003.
Peter was born on February 9, 1973 in Portland, Maine to Pamela and David Leighton, then from East Sebago. Peter graduated from Lake Region High School in 1991, where he served on the debating team and as a class representative. After high school, he served in the Navy as a hospital corpsman with a Marine Corps Reserve rifle company. He received a letter of recommendation from the United States Navy while on duty for “Exceptional Skill, Initiative, and Duty,” and also graduated with the highest academic grade in his class. He received a letter of recommendation from the US Marine Corps for “superior performance of his duties” and received an honorable discharge in 1999. He graduated from the University of Southern Maine at Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Biology in 1996. Graduated from the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine in 2003 and received the Doctor Lamb Award for “caring for the whole patient.” ” excellent. In 2006, he completed his internal medicine residency at Maine Medical Center. From 2007 to 2013 he worked as a hospitalist at Central Maine Medical Center. He returned to the Lakes Region in 2013 to practice primary care and received the Dr. Larry Hopperstead Award in recognition of excellence in patient care. He was passionate about treating addictive patients and was double certified in addiction medicine in 2020.
Peter donated much of his time and leadership to the community service. He was active both locally and at the state level. He volunteered for the Walk with a doc program that allowed patients to meet with him outside of the hospital. He advocated cutting-edge medical care for those affected by opiate use disorder and was a co-founder of the Lakes Region Substance Awareness Coalition (501c3), of which he was president. That endeavor led to the opening of the Lakes Region Recovery Center, where he later served as a medical advisor and also as the medical director for Crooked River Counseling. Peter was a gifted public speaker who took pride in giving numerous talks, presentations, and interviews in many groups and forums, including NPR on his MAT practice across Maine. In 2021 he received the Peter Leighton, MD Award for “outstanding commitment to the community service”. Peter’s philanthropy continued after his death, donating his brain to research for the DFCI / BWH / BCH-Division of Neuropathology Brain Donation Program.
Peter was an avid spiritual seeker from a young age. He read numerous books on religion and attended retreats and monasteries. Peter’s moral foundation was his daily meditation practice and spiritual readings; he was a friend of Bill W. He and his family attended the Unity Church of Greater Portland. As a schoolboy he was the class clown and loved making people laugh. He looked up at his older brother Eric, who would be a lifelong love affair teacher of Maine, seeking adventure in any body of water, particularly sailing handcrafted boats in the creeks and creeks around Naples, or “surfing on.” the rocks ”along the New Hampshire rivers and climbing Mt. Katahdin together; learn how to navigate the wild, what was their metaphor for life.
Peter met his soul mate Kimberly in 2012 and they moved their family to Bridgton in 2013. They had busy homes and looked after their five children and many pets. Peter and Kim met on a blind date and joked about telling her that he fell in love with her that night. He said, “He just knew.” Peter described coffee as “a gift from the gods” and he enjoyed waking up with a hot cup of coffee and spending time on the porch watching the birds. Peter and Kim were often seen taking their daily walks along the beautiful streets near their home in Bridgton. They also worked together in the coalition, where she served as a secretary. They loved opening their homes to family gatherings and hosted Peter’s office Christmas party for many years.
The most important role he played was the “father” of his children. He took pride in teaching them life lessons and had many sayings like “measure twice, cut once”. He often called them his “master teachers”. Peter loved family traditions. Some of them went apple-picking and baked a homemade apple pie, knocked the trees and made homemade maple syrup, visited the Fryeburg fair – eat fair and win the children’s soft toys, cut down the family’s Christmas tree and spread birthday cakes. He loved spending time on his boat and tubing with the kids on Long Lake. Although he was a busy doctor, he always made time for school meetings and sporting events. Over the years he loved father and daughter dances with his four daughters. Peter loved animals and was often found with a cat or dog tied around his neck on his lap. He enjoyed running, especially in freezing temperatures during the Maine winters, and loved snowmobiling. He loved fly fishing in the Cupsuptic River and has fond memories of fishing with his grandfather. He was a lifelong skier and cherished spending time with his children as they took the chairlift to the top of the mountain. He was also fond of weight lifting and felt it was important to teach healthy lifestyles to his patients and children.
He leaves behind his wife Kimberly and children Sophia and Nadia Leighton and Reiyn, Wildr and Aurora Hart; his brother Eric and wife Stacey from Coto de Caza, California, his brother-in-law Danny Louten and wife Tamothy from Portland, sister-in-law Krystal Malinovskii and her husband Yegor from Falmouth; and several nieces and nephews, Mariah, Paige, Leo, River, Landon, Kingston, Beckham, and Elle; his mother Pamela from Bridgton; parents-in-law Linda and Bill Dionne, Daniel and Diane Louten, both from Port Charlotte, Florida; former wife Natasha Leighton from Poland and former in-laws James Meikle and Linda Hall. Peter had died of his father David (2019).
A Life Service Celebration will be held at Bridgton Academy on August 21, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. An annual “Walk in Remembrance” for Dr. Peter Leighton will be held on September 18th at 10:00 AM at Crooked River Counseling in Bridgton.
The arrangements are in the care of the Hall Funeral Home in Casco, where condolences can be offered online at http://www.hallfuneralhome.net.
Commemorative donations in honor of Dr. Leighton can contact the Lakes Region Recovery Center, the Peter Leighton, MD Fund for Community Excellence at Bridgton Hospital, or the family’s gofundme page https://gofund.me/40c17bbb. be done
Obituary: June Belden Noack