Leighton H. Cooney

AUBURN – Leighton H. Cooney, of Auburn, passed away peacefully at home on April 18, 2020, with his family close. He grew up near Chicago, attended New Trier H.S. and earned a B.A. from Lake Forest College. There he met Holly, to whom he was happily married for more than 50 years. Leighton’s life was one of public service. He relocated from Illinois to Sabattus in 1967 to teach high school. He soon gained the respect of his community (despite being “from away”) and was elected to three terms in the Maine House of Representatives (1970-1976), including Chair of the State Government Committee. In 1976, he ran against incumbent William Cohen in the 2nd Congressional District. Leighton was subsequently elected to serve as State Treasurer, proudly enacting Maine’s Unclaimed Property Program. He helped to negotiate the Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1979, and put the State’s banking accounts “out to bid.” Cooney served as Maine’s Director of the BPI, as well as on various State Boards and Commissions.Under Governors Brennan and Baldacci, he spearheaded the transitions of Loring A.F. Base and Brunswick Naval Air Station to community use, working to optimize their creative redevelopment. Leighton was independent of thought and possessed the rare ability to engage in political discourse by listening, without imposing his perspective. Cooney was later involved in private enterprise, running the Lewiston division of Maine Home Mortgage. An enthusiastic business owner, he was a strong and loyal voice for downtown Lewiston, serving as president of the Merchant’s Association. He was bullish on public education, a public library trustee and supportive of local theatre and arts. Leighton maximized life, cherishing friends and family. A proud father, as well as a generous friend and neighbor, he was a convivial and consummate host. And no one loved the sun more than he did, taking full-spirited advantage by golfing, skiing, gardening, captaining his sailboat, driving his convertible, and spending many happy hours at the beach and at home. A family-oriented man, he leaves behind his wife Holly; daughters Eliza, Anne and Grace; sons-in-law, Joel and Trent;four beloved grandchildren; his sister, Allyson; and countless friends and relatives. Leighton will be long-remembered, sincerely honored and deeply missed. A memorial service will hopefully be held this summer. To be informed of details or share memories/ condolences, please email: [email protected] In lieu of flowers, please consider a remembrance donation to:LHC Memorial Scholarship fund (in process), Trinity Jubilee Center, orMaine Conservation Alliance

Leighton H. Cooney

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