Rita May Leighton, age 89, of Madison, went home to her heavenly father on December 19, 2023, while
in Avera Hospice at Firesteel Health Care Center in Mitchell, SD.
Visitation will be at 1:00 pm and her funeral service at 2:00 pm on Saturday, December 23rd at the
Rustand-Weiland Funeral Chapel in Madison, SD. Burial will follow at Graceland Cemetery. Online
guestbook is at www.rustandweilandfuneral.com. Arrangements are entrusted to Rustand-Weiland
Funeral Chapel.

Rita May Trainor was born February 14, 1934, at Colman, SD to Clarence and Edna (Duxbury) Trainor.
Her family moved to Madison where she attended school. As a young woman, she worked as a nanny
for a local family.

She met Robert W. Leighton, Jr. in Madison. After a short courtship he asked Rita to marry him and the
couple wed in Pipestone, Mn on July 20, 1954.
They lived on two livestock farms outside of Madison that Rita managed with the help of her two young
sons while Robert drove truck to earn their main living. Later, the couple bought an acreage on the
southeast side of Madison where they continued to raise their growing family and were vested in
horses. Robert relied on Rita to keep everything running smoothly. In Rita’s later years, the couple lived
in Mitchell, SD.

Family was everything to Rita. This included the family pets. She attentively cared for her children and
grandchildren. She protected us fiercely. It was important to her to tell us how much she loved us daily
and pray for us in the evening.

Rita kept a very tidy home with beautiful floral and abundant vegetable gardens. Canning her produce
was always something she enjoyed each year. Rita loved to cook for people and invited family, friends,
and neighbors to their home. Often, her home was visited by kids in the neighborhood or friends of her
children who considered her someone they could count on to patiently listen.
Her hobbies included sewing, crafts, ceramics, photography, camping, boating, and walking her dogs.
She really liked music and shared it with others.
This woman will be missed. The countless memories she made with us and who she was to those who
knew her will never be forgotten.

Rita is survived by her brother, LeRoy (Betty) Trainor of Suncity, AZ; her children: Robert W. Leighton, III
of Salem, SD, Jeff (Roxanne) of Madison, SD, and Michele (Patrick) of Mitchell, SD; nine grandchildren,
seven great-grandchildren; one great, great-grandchild and special nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; two brothers; two sisters; two brothers-in-law and her

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