PORTLAND – William M. “Bucky” Leighton, Jr., 70, of Temple died early Sunday evening in the Cardiac ICU at Maine Medical Center in Portland He was born in Dixfield, Jan 7, 1950, the son of William and Harriet (Noyes) Leighton, Sr. He was a 1968 graduate of Dixfield High School and earned a Diploma in Culinary Arts from Southern Maine Vocational Technical Institute. During high school, he excelled in athletics: ice hockey, baseball and football. He continued his education at the University of Southern Maine, Portland~Gorham and received a B.S. in Vocational Education.
He enjoyed teaching culinary arts at Johnson and Wales in Rhode Island and the Culinary Institute in Portland. He was a Chief Steward for Military Sealift Command of Bayonne, NJ and was a Wholesale Produce Buyer for Old Yankee Foods in Dixfield. He worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Woods Hole, MA as the Chief Steward before serving as a Maine State Health Inspector.
Bucky was a chef at Michael’s Place in Jay and was a Steward for Gleneagle Ship Mgmt., Inc., of Houston, TX where he managed the ship’s galley. Locally, he will be remembered for owning and operating The Cabin Restaurant in Farmington and for his many years of serving as Production Manager for Aramark Higher Education at the University of Maine, Farmington, retiring in 2015. Always devoted to serving others, he used his skill sets purposefully during his five years of “retirement” as a compassionate host at the Wiles Remembrance Centers.
Never one to be idle, he held a variety of seasonal summer jobs, particularly while renewing his education, that always centered on culinary arts: Third cook at Tripp Lake Camp in Poland, First Cook for Saga foods, Moultonborough, NH to First Cook, Tripp Lake Camp Poland; Chef at Roberts Restaurant in Portland; food service instructor at Portland Regional Vocational Technical Center in Portland; Chef at The Nantucket Yacht Club; catering business with International Caterers, Portland and serving as a chef at Camp Wekeela in Canton.
Bucky was a life-learner and always a teacher, sharing his knowledge and expertise, as well as his life-acquired wisdom to those whose life pathways were shared. He was a chef extraordinaire and enjoyed sharing the bounty of his garden. His 100 + bulbs of garlic often brought family and friends back, asking for more! Bucky had an impressive work ethic and expected much of others; yet never more of others than of himself. He volunteered at the Mt. Blue Middle School Cooking Matters Program, served as a judge at the Franklin County. Agricultural Fair and assisted the Farmington Rotary Club with Bike Maine. Throughout his lifetime, there were many memorable hunting and fishing trips and snowmobile rides with family and friends and good times “Upta Camp”, on Gull Pond, where he enjoyed riding the roads spotting moose, deer and an array of wildlife. He was most comfortable in a well-worn t-shirt; gardening and tending to his beloved home with the love of his life, Mary Jane O’Regan and reveling with great joy in the adventures of their son, Luke’s, life.
He is loved by his wife, Mary Jane of Temple; their son, Luke Leighton and his wife, Holly, of Brooklyn, NY; sister, Jane Wardwell of Dixfield; nieces, Shelly Leighton of NC and Stephanie Dube and her husband Ray, of Lewiston; nephews Ryan Hart of Portland and Jamie Hart and his wife Kimberly of NC; Brother-in-law, Jim O’Regan and wife, Deborah of South Portland; and sisters-in-law, Ann Wattles and her husband, Alden of New Vineyard and Patti O’Regan of Portland; several great nieces, nephews and cousins. In addition to his folks, he was predeceased by his sister, Rebecca and brother-in-law, Clyde Wardwell.
In typical “Bucky-style”, his family wishes to express their gratitude to the care he received at Maine Medical Center and ask that remembrance gifts be considered to the following: The Care and Share Food Closet, 508 Fairbanks Road, Farmington, ME 04938 or to the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, Gerry Wiles Holiday Food Basket, 615 Wilton Road, Farmington, ME 04938 or to the Franklin County Animal Shelter. 550 Industry Rd. Farmington, Me. 04938. The family invites those who feel comfortable to attend a memorial visitation on Thursday from 4-7 pm at the Wiles Remembrance Center:Adams-McFarlane Capel, 137 Farmington Falls Road, Farmington where you are kindly asked to wear masks and social distance in consideration of others. Private graveside services will be held at Fairview Cemetery in Farmington. His family asks that you share memories and photos in his Book of Memories at www.wilesrc.com.