April 02, 2020

Supper to aid community activist Leighton

The name Gary Leighton has appeared in this column many times since we began writing The Standpipe in February 1995.

Always associated with that name was an effort by Gary to make life better for the rest of us.

Today, we ask you to help make life better for Gary and his family.

You may know Gary Leighton as a person representing Eastern Agency on Aging, a bank, Meals for Me, the Bangor Breakfast Kiwanis Club, the Greater Bangor Fourth of July Corp. or as a Husson College and Bangor High School graduate.

You may not know that 42-year-old Gary Leighton of Bangor has lymphoma and has just undergone a bone marrow transplant.

Those who know the Leighton family best, of course, know what Gary has done for the community.

And those people know that, now, they want to do something for Gary, his wife, Debbie Gardiner Leighton, and their children, 11-year-old Allison and 3-year-old Andrew.

That is why co-workers, associates and friends of the couple are organizing a benefit spaghetti supper from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Brewer Auditorium.

Through the family’s associations and friendships, several groups and organizations are co-sponsoring the benefit.

Among those sponsors are the nurses who work with Debbie at Eastern Maine Medical Center; Gary’s fellow Kiwanians, including Rep. John Baldacci, who is providing Momma Baldacci’s famous spaghetti; members of the Acadia Choral Society and local barbershoppers, led by David Klocko of Old Town; and members of the East Orrington Congregational Church, providing the desserts.

Gary Leighton was diagnosed with lymphoma in November 1996.

He came home the Monday before Christmas after receiving a bone marrow transplant at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

Tickets for the supper are available at the door, but we are sure any of the Leightons’ friends and associates who have joined together to support the family will be able to provide you with tickets.

We wish Gary and his family well.

To show the community’s appreciation for how he has brightened our lives in so many ways, we hope for a tremendous turnout at the Brewer Auditorium on Sunday.

Someone she does not know came to her aid and comfort the evening of Saturday, Dec. 27, and Theresa Kelshaw of Glenburn is most grateful.

Kelshaw wrote the NEWS to express her thanks to “the people who stopped to help me … when my truck went off the road on the Hudson Road. I didn’t think to ask your names, and you left before I could thank you.

“Your warm van, your jackets and, especially, your hugs and compassion will always be deeply appreciated. Thank you for caring.”

From another family, we learn that “community” is all-inclusive.

The efforts of Greater Bangor area friends, neighbors and strangers mean a great deal to the family of the late Norman Smith of Orono, retired dean of the University of Maine College of Engineering. Smith died unexpectedly Dec. 7 in El Paso, Texas. His widow, Rhonda, his son, Rodney, daughter Janet, and their families were moved by the community’s response.

Maj. Rodney Smith lives with his family in Wuerzburg, Germany, where he is serving with the U.S. Army.

He wrote the Bangor Daily News after his father’s death that the family was “deeply moved by the generosity and support of the entire community — not only friends and acquaintances, but also people we didn’t even know.

“It’s both refreshing and heartwarming to see a community pull together, especially in a world that always seems so troubled.”

With family traveling long distances for the funeral, Smith sends special thanks to “people who went above and beyond to take some of the burden off us.”

He is especially grateful to Don and Julie Sites of Eagle Crest Apartments “for providing us a place to stay”; and Lynn Cyr, Billie-Jo O’Roak, Shay Riley, Tammy Mason, Renee Lee and Kathy Record of All Children’s Day Care in Bangor “for providing a fun and loving place for our children to play during our stay.”

Smith believes our community “has a great deal to be proud of.”

“Your demonstration of concern and generosity of spirit goes beyond that which is expected during the holiday season.

“We are truly grateful for all you’ve done for us, and we are proud to be associated with you. You will always hold a special place in our hearts.”

Anyone with a connection to Bangor’s music world equates that world with the late Norm Lambert.

From our earliest college day memories of dancing to his trio at the Bangor House to his presence at more recent private and public functions, that trademark smile and trademark sound were distinctly his own.

We extend our sympathies to his family who, on more special dates than we could probably count, shared him with us, allowing Norm the joy of his work as we applauded his contribution to our celebrations.

The Standpipe, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; 990-8288.

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