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Obituary: Keith Leighty

Keith Leighty, pictured, a former editor-in-charge of Reuters Americas financial editing desk in New York, died at a New York hospice on Sunday after a long illness. He was 61.

He was diagnosed two years ago with brain cancer but continued to work regularly at his most recent employer, The New York Times, which he joined in 1999. He became night editor of the newspaper’s business desk.

Leighty joined Reuters in Chicago in 1986 before moving to New York and becoming deputy editor-in-charge of the financial filing desk. He was promoted to editor-in-charge of the filing desk in 1993 and subsequently oversaw a merged editing desk with sub-editors for the Reuters Business Report.

An avid baseball, golf and opera fan, Leighty was born in Peoria, Illinois, and attended the University of Arizona where he switched majors from engineering to journalism. He followed in the footsteps of his father, a former sports reporter and editor at the Peoria Journal Star. After college, Leighty worked at two newspapers in Arizona – the Mohave Valley News in Bullhead City in 1977 and then the Daily Miner in Kingman before joining the Associated Press in Chicago from 1979.

Leighty enjoyed working with young people and encouraging student journalists. He was an adjunct professor at New York University teaching copy editing and served as editorial adviser for the NYU campus newspaper Washington Square News. In recent years, one of his biggest joys came from umpiring Little League baseball.

Leighty is survived by his wife Sue and two sons Keith Jr and Joseph. His family plans a small, private funeral service. His friends plan to hold a memorial service in New York. ■