Joy R. Leighton, 91, who resided at The Arbors (assisted living) in Stoughton, MA, formerly of Westport CT, died on March 21, 2022 of natural causes though she suffered in recent years from late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Joy was born on January 14, 1931 to Gusta and Jack Levin in Brooklyn, N.Y. Joy’s parents divorced when Joy was 11. Joy was very devoted to her mother’s boyfriend of several years, Ralph Freundlich, and after he died, to her stepfather, David Phillips. All three men provided well for the family, with Ralph and David being particularly successful entrepreneurs who gave the family a rich lifestyle in those years, including living in the Hotel Delmonico on Park Avenue and St. Moritz hotel on Central Park in New York City. Joy attended the Lear boarding school in Florida, and also the Brooklyn Academy, class of 1948, and New York University. At NYU, Joy met Sheldon (Shelly) Liebowitz, a CPA, whom she married in 1950. Joy and Shelly changed their last name to Leighton to avoid discrimination, and in the early 1960s Shelly became the head of Bailey Employment Systems, a franchisor of employment agencies spanning the Northeastern Seaboard. Joy assisted Shelly in most aspects of the business including bookkeeping and computer systems. They traveled extensively, including to Russia and China. Joy loved to read, had a lot of intellectual curiosity and humor, and if she didn’t know something she would say she was “absent that day”. She was an avid golfer, tennis player, and skier. She also enjoyed sculpting and painting. She excelled in games such as bridge and Mahjong. Joy loved to cook and claims that when Martha Stewart was starting out in the catering
business in Westport, CT she came to cater a party and Joy taught Martha Stewart how to carve a turkey and put it back together for serving! Joy and Shelly were married for 54 years when Shelly died in 2004.
Joy is survived by her daughter Stephanie and her wife Phoebe of Foxboro MA, and her son Ronald of Ennis, Texas.
A celebration of Joy’s life will be held this summer at the Unitarian Church in Westport, CT.
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