Dr Peter A. Leighton, 48
Dr Peter A. Leighton, 48, husband, father, son, brother, uncle and beloved doctor, passed away peacefully in his sleep on June 29, 2021, in the arms of his loving wife and children at the Androscoggin Home Health Care and Hospice in Auburn, Maine. He died after a courageous battle with a recurrent brain tumor (May 2020), first diagnosed in 2003.
Peter was born on February 9, 1973 in Portland, Maine, to Pamela and David Leighton, then of East Sebago. Peter graduated from Lake Region High School (1991) where he was part of the debate team and was class president. After high school, he served in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman attached to a Marine Corps Reserve Rifle Company. He received a congratulatory letter from the United States Navy while posted for “demonstrating exceptional ability, initiative and dedication,” and also achieved the highest grade point average. of his class. He received a letter of congratulations from the United States Marine Corps for “superior performance of his duties” and received an honorable discharge in 1999.
He graduated from the University of Southern Maine with Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Biology in 1996. Peter then graduated from the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine in 2003 and received the Doctor Lamb Award “for his interest and care for the total patient. He completed his internal medicine residency at Maine Medical Center in 2006. From 2007 to 2013, he worked as a hospitalist at Central Maine Medical Center. He returned home to the Lake District in 2013 to practice primary care and received the Dr. Larry Hopperstead Award in 2017, in recognition of excellence in patient care. He was passionate about treating patients with drug addiction and achieved dual certification in addiction medicine in 2020.
Peter has devoted much of his time and leadership to community service. He was active both locally and at the state level. He volunteered for the Walk with a Doc program, allowing patients to meet him outside of the hospital. He has advocated for advanced medical care for people with opioid use disorders and co-founded the Lakes Region Substance Awareness Coalition (501c3) of which he served as chair. This venture led to the opening of the Lake District Recovery Center where he would later serve as a medical advisor and medical director at Crooked River Counseling. Peter was a gifted speaker who took pride in giving numerous lectures, presentations and interviews to numerous groups and forums including NPR on his MAT practice in Maine. In 2021, he received the Peter Leighton, MD Award for “Outstanding Commitment to Community Service”. Peter’s philanthropy continued after his death, donating his brain to research in the Brain Donation Program of the DFCI / BWH / BCH Division of the Neuropathology Brain Donation Program.
Peter was an avid spiritual seeker from an early age. He read many books on religion and attended retreats and monasteries. Peter’s moral foundation was his daily meditation practice and his spiritual readings; he was a friend of Bill W. He and his family attended Unity Church in Greater Portland. As a student he was the class clown and loved to make people laugh. He admired his older brother Eric who would be a longtime teacher of the love of the woods of Maine, seeking adventures in any body of water, especially sailing handmade boats in streams and rivers. streams around Naples, or “rock surfing” along the rivers of New Hampshire, and the ascent of Mt. Katahdin together; learn to navigate in the desert which was their metaphor for life.
Peter met his soul mate, Kimberly, in 2012 and they moved their family to Bridgton in 2013. They had a house occupied, looking after their five children and plenty of pets. Peter and Kim met on a blind date and they joked about the way he told her he fell in love with her that same night. He said, “He just knew. Peter called the coffee a “gift from the gods” and he loved waking up to a hot cup of coffee and spending time on the porch watching the birds. Peter and Kim were often seen on their daily walks along the beautiful roads near their home in Bridgton. They also worked side by side in the coalition where she served as secretary. They loved to open their house for family gatherings and also hosted Peter’s office Christmas party for many years.
The most important role he played was that of “father” to his children. He was proud to teach them life lessons and had many sayings such as “measure twice, cut once”. He often called them his “master teachers”. Peter loved family traditions. Some of them would go apple picking and bake homemade apple pie, pat their trees and make homemade maple syrup, attend the Fryeburg Fair – eat fair trade food and win the children’s stuffed animals, chopped down the family Christmas tree and frosted birthday cakes. He enjoyed spending time on his boat and taking the kids tubing on Long Lake. Even though he was a very busy doctor, he always made time to attend school meetings and sporting events. He loved father and daughter dances with his four daughters over the years. Peter was an animal lover and you would often find him with a cat wrapped around his neck or a dog on his lap. He loved to run, especially in sub-zero temperatures during Maine winters and enjoyed snowmobiling. He enjoyed fly fishing in the Cupsuptic River and has fond memories of fishing with his grandfather. He was a lifelong skier and enjoyed spending time with his children as they took the chairlift to the top of the mountain. He also loved weight lifting and thought it was important to show his patients and children a healthy lifestyle.
He is survived by his wife Kimberly and children Sophia and Nadia Leighton, and Reiyn, Wildr and Aurora Hart; his brother Eric and his wife Stacey of Coto de Caza, California; his brother-in-law Danny Louten and his wife Tamothy of Portland; sister-in-law Krystal Malinovskii and her husband Yegor, of Falmouth; and several nieces and nephews: Mariah, Paige, Leo, River, Landon, Kingston, Beckham and Elle; his mother Pamela, of Bridgton; in-laws Linda and Bill Dionne, Daniel and Diane Louten, both of Port Charlotte, Florida; ex-wife Natasha Leighton of Poland; and former in-laws James Meikle and Linda Hall.
Peter was predeceased by his father, David (2019).
A Service of Life Celebration will be held at Bridgton Academy on August 21, 2021 at 9 a.m.
In lieu of owers, memorial contributions can be made to the Lakes Region Recovery Center, the Peter Leighton, MD Fund for Community Excellence at Bridgton Hospital, or the family gofundme page https://go-fund.me/40c17bbb.
An annual “Remembrance Walk” for Dr. Peter Leighton will take place on September 18 at 10 am from Crooked River Counseling in Bridgton.
Arrangements are taken care of by Hall Funeral Home in Casco where online condolences can be shared at www.hallfuneralhome.net.