Leighton John Parnham
Birth date: December 4, 1992
Death date: August 7, 2012
t seems cliché to say that Leighton Parnham was a special boy, but that doesn’t make it any less true. He had such a unique mixture of personality traits, and they amounted to one amazing person to be around. Leighton had the capacity to be serious and solemn, putting every ounce of his being into his work or family, and also the tendency to let loose like only he could. Despite his rock star good looks, he never even toed the line between confidence and cockiness, always remaining humble and friendly to everyone he met. There wasn’t a person in the world that met him who wasn’t his friend immediately, and he treated all as equal.
Even people he didn’t know gave him slack – after all, who couldn’t like this goofy, handsome guy who had not a glint of malice in his eye? There were times when, sure, he could have used a firm retort or a guiding hand, but he always managed to escape these repercussions. He was just a kid after all: an eternal kid.
Leighton John Parnham, aged 19, was critically injured by a taxi in New York City last week Wednesday night. He fought his injuries for several days but succumbed to them on Tuesday morning, August 7th.
He had a thirst for challenge, participation and company, and channeled these needs into many outlets. As a junior in high school he was a worthy debater for ‘We the People’ and returned as a mentor his senior year. In addition he was selected to play a leading role as Porthos in The Three Musketeers and in his spare time excelled in school sports including his first love varsity soccer, lacrosse, and cross-country.
Leighton's ambitious and adventurous spirit led him to the cultural mecca of New York City to pursue a career path in the fashion industry, studying at the world renowned Fashion Institute (FIT). He was one the lucky few who knew exactly what he wanted to do, designing and modeling clothing he adorned regularly as well as interning for the well-known Timo Weiland. He regularly roamed the streets on his longboard, drinking the city in and searching for a newer, more interesting corner to explore. Accepting further challenges to an already busy schedule (as was his habit), he played for the Barnstonworth Rovers Football club, the premier amateur soccer club of Manhattan. True to his proud heritage, he loved English soccer, and considered himself a regular hooligan, emulating his heroes that played for Manchester United and others. The things he loved truly reflected his adventuresome yet caring personality – zipping around on his vintage Honda scooter, his furry companion Cooper, and any and all music: anything he could dance to.
All people, regardless of age looked up to him. They unconsciously found themselves wearing socks in his style, buying shirts that looked like one he might have worn once, and vowing to say ‘Yes’ more, and never ‘No, I think I’ll sit this one out.’
Leighton was a leader, and not a follower, and his wonderful qualities will live on in everyone that he’s touched in his life – all those who said to themselves, like we all did, “I’m going to take a page out of Leighton’s book.” We love you Leighton, and we’ll miss you.
Leighton has joined his beloved uncle Doug Wiegerink in peace, both of whom are survived by Leighton’s loving Mom, Cindy Wiegerink (East Grand Rapids), Father, Lee Parnham (East Grand Rapids), sister Francesca Parnham, Grandparents, Paul and Gretchen Wiegerink (Holland), his English Grandparents Catherine and Ron Parnham, Aunts and Uncles Jana, Julie, Stephanie, Mandy, Linda, Simon, Steve, Marty, and many cousins, Stevie, Gretchen, Gerrit, Tanner, Jackson, Casey, Zach, Jessica, Elisha, Shelby, Ethan, Alex, Jessica, Georgia, Molly and baby Elma.
Memorial Services will be held Thursday, August 16 at 6:00pm at Fountain Street Church(24 Fountain Street NE) with Pastor Dick Doeden officiating, In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Leighton Parnham Memorial Fund c/o Huntington Bank.