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In Memoriam — John Leighton

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John R. Leighton, professor emeritus of art, died Dec. 28.

A Cal State Fullerton alumnus, Leighton joined the faculty of the College of the Arts in 2003 and became coordinator of the college’s glass program.

“John would often be found on weekends or summer days repairing the former handmade kilns and glory holes in the glass studios,” Jade Jewett, Art Department chair, recalled fondly. “He remodeled nearly every home he lived in, and designed and built a home in Point Reyes, his home studio and a 20-foot sailboat.”

Prior to arriving at CSUF, Leighton was director of the glass program and the University Art Gallery at San Francisco State University. He was also a guest instructor at California College of Arts and Crafts, Pilchuck Glass School, Tokyo Glass Art Institute and Osaka University of Arts.

Leighton was awarded an honorary lifetime membership in the International Glass Art Society, where he also served in different positions within its board for seven years.

Leighton maintained his studio practice for 46 years and exhibited cast and blown glass sculpture in the United States, Europe and Asia. He exhibited in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Corning Museum of Glass, Oakland Museum, Ebeltoft Glasmuseum in Denmark, and Notojima Glass Museum and Kanazu Art Museum in Japan, among others. Leighton designed exhibitions for galleries and museums, a limited-production series of blown forms and architectural stained-glass commissions in the U.S. and Japan.

He received his B.A. in environmental design from CSUF in 1974 and went on to earn his M.F.A. in sculpture from California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland.

He was awarded emeritus status in 2015.

Leighton is survived by his wife, fellow artist Dee Danzinger, and his daughter and son-in-law, Dr. Morgan Leighton and Andrew Horning. His family has asked that anyone wishing to celebrate his life with a financial contribution donate to environmental charities or to Cal State Fullerton’s glass program.

To make a donation to the glass program via credit card, please contact George Cuarenta at 657-278-1141. Checks should be payable to “CSFPF, Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation” (please write “John Leighton Tribute Gift” in the memo line) and mailed to:

CSFPF College of the Arts
2600 Nutwood Ave, Suite 830
Fullerton, CA 92831

A memorial celebration is planned for the spring; details will be shared shortly.