Bernard Leightheiser

Bernard E. Leightheiser Jr.

May 18, 1933 - February 16, 2020
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Bernard E. Leightheiser, Jr., 86, passed away February 16, 2020, at the Highlands in Wyomissing,
Bernard was born in West Reading and was the only child of the late Bernard, Sr. and Edith L. (Henne) Leightheiser.

He is survived by his wife, Marilyn (Dohner) Leightheiser.

Bud was a 1951 graduate of Wyomissing High School. He received a full tennis scholarship to attend The University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, graduating in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science degree. At graduation, he also received a commission in the United States Air Force as a 2nd Lt. and spent two years on active duty in Laon, France, serving with the 38th Bomb Wing. He retired in 1970 as a Captain in the Air Force Reserves.

Bud joined the Group Division of Aetna Life & Casualty right out of Maryland in 1955. After two years in the USAF, he was assigned to Aetna's Boston Group Office in December 1957. He was transferred to York, PA in 1962 where he managed this sub-office of Reading until being transferred into Aetna's Home Office in Hartford, CT in 1967. He held various Home Office positions before being promoted to Vice President in 1988 to head up Aetna's Group Sales and Marketing Department. He retired in 1991 and moved to Wilmington, NC in 1996 before returning to Reading and Berks County in 2002.

Bud was an accomplished tennis player, winning the Berks County Scholastic Singles, as well as the Berks County and City of Reading Junior Singles Championships, in 1950 and 1951. He also won the District 3 Singles Championships in 1950 and 1951, before capturing the PIAA State Singles title in 1951. He was the first Wyomissing graduate to capture a PIAA State Tennis Championship.

Bud and his Dad, Bernie, won the 1953 National Clay Courts Father & Son Doubles Championship and were ranked #10 Nationally in Father & Son Doubles in 1953. He also won the 1955 State of Maryland Intercollegiate Singles Championships, and in 1957 captured the USAFE (United States Air Forces Europe) French Conference Singles and Doubles Championships, before receiving the Reading-Berks County Chamber of Commerce Sports Achievement Award for Tennis, also in 1957.

Aetna sponsored the Aetna World Cup, a professional tennis team competition between Australia and The United States from 1972 through 1981. Bud was actively involved in this endeavor and was responsible for recruiting, training and managing all on-court officials. Bud officiated at the Special Olympics World Games held at Yale University in 1995. He also served as President of the Hopbrook Tennis Club in West Simsbury, CT and was President of the Berks County Tennis Club in 2005.

There are three children: Jim, who resides with his wife, Alice, in Lexington, MA; Ann McCarthy and Gay Mohrbacher, twin daughters, reside with their husbands, Ward and John, in Fairfield, CT and Winchester, MA respectively. There are seven grandchildren: Grace and Charlie in Lexington, MA; Lily, Rowan, and Wyatt in Fairfield, CT; and Georgia and Jack in Winchester, MA.

There will be no memorial services at Bernard's request. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Homes is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be expressed at
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Gae Neely Mork

Posted at 06:00pm
Dear Marilyn and Family....

I am so very sorry to hear of Bernard's passing. I thank you for letting me know and a card is coming to you as I write this. My sincerest sympathy to you, Marilyn, and your family. Love, Gae (Fornwald) (Daughter of Clarence Fornwald, 1st Cousin of Bernard Sr.)

Robert F. Benson

Posted at 07:45pm
A person is fortunate to have a handful of really true friends throughout life. Bud was my roommate in college and was one of my best friends. He always had a cheerful attitude and was loved by all who knew him. I was very sad to hear of his death. My best wishes go out to Marilyn , his children, and grandchildren. As members of the SAE fraternity, we were required to memorize a piece called “The True Gentleman”. Bud was a real true gentleman! Thanks for your friendship, Bud.

David Schupp

Posted at 05:16pm
Bud was such a gentleman on the tennis court, it was a pleasure to count him as a friend for so many years. When Bud and Marilyn left West Simsbury for Hilton Head it was a loss to all of us who cherished his friendship. We need more Bud like people in our world. He will be sorely missed by friends and family.

Dave Schupp, West Granby, CT

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