During the early morning hours of November 21, 2023, Philip Bradford Leeton departed from this life at the age of 68 after a long, courageous battle with cancer. He was born on May 2, 1955 in Knoxville, Tennessee as the sixth child to Felix and Frances Caldwell Leeton.
Phil is survived by his loving wife, Dr. LoriAnne Williams Leeton and his treasured companion dogs, Ruby and Reagan. He is also survived by his sister, Lola Fitzpatrick (Terry), his brother, Andrew Leeton (Mary), nieces Katie Fitzpatrick Norris (Scott), Brooke Leeton, Valerie Williams Marshall (Wes), Abby Leeton Smith (Myles), Rachel Leeton, his nephew, Nicholas Fitzpatrick, great nieces Leeton, Raelyn, and Cassie, along with great nephews Holden and Carson. His father-in-law and mother-in-law (Jim and Lois Williams) whom he lovingly referred to as his “out-laws” because he often stated that they are always wanted, survive him, in addition to his special goddaughter, Brittany McMahan. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Johnny Leeton and Tom Leeton, and his sister Lori Leeton Lucas.
Phil graduated from Farragut High School in Knoxville, Tennessee. He attended Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, Tennessee and was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. After a lengthy, successful career in restaurant management, he continued his genuine love of the hospitality business by returning to his roots of working in “the back of the house” where he strongly believed was the basis for any effective restaurant establishment. Phil was always sincerely loved and respected by his co-workers in each of his employments because of his quest for excellence and his warm personality. He rarely met a stranger, and he could easily make a new friend while completing simple tasks like pumping gas or standing in line somewhere.
Guests who came to Phil and LoriAnne’s home were often treated to Phil’s original delicacies, as he genuinely enjoyed preparing and sharing his creations made with his special touch. He could literally scrape the bones from a chicken getting every tiny scrap for a variety of meals that would last for several days. No one could cook a steak quite as perfectly as Phil, and his generous spirit was evident as he shared his expert skills with others through memorable meals. His excitement was contagious as he and LoriAnne hosted fifteen consecutive pumpkin parties for their neighborhood and friends while he manned his grill preparing burgers and hotdogs. Later, he provided many children with their first opportunity ever to roast a marshmallow. When LoriAnne prepared to lead a number of overseas educational trips for her high school students, Phil willingly tried his hand at international cuisine, which delighted both LoriAnne and her travelers. His culinary talents were well known and admired within his large circle of friends, and he was once named The Leaf Chronicle’s Cook of the Month. He also received numerous awards at LongHorn Restaurant for his loyalty and dedication.
One of Phil’s favorite pastimes included following the University of Tennessee Volunteers in various athletic events, since he claimed to have been “injected with orange from birth” as a Knoxville native. Cherished family time meant gathering together for food, fellowship, and competitive playing of the siblings’ famous “Idiots” card game, a life-long Leeton tradition. Additionally, just swinging a golf club with his older brothers brought Phil great joy. A true “Blue Bloods” fan, he named one of his dogs after the fictitious Reagan family featured on the show. He loved keeping up news of any kind, and he always enthusiastically reported on his fascinations with the stock market or the weather. He genuinely loved listening to LoriAnne read the Bible, various books and articles aloud to him, which were always followed by rich discussions. In every single circumstance, he sincerely wanted LoriAnne to shine, while he was completely content serving as her supporter and cheerleader.
Phil boldly fought a long-lasting, difficult battle with cancer, and he became a formidable opponent from the first moment of his diagnosis until he took his last breath. He completely amazed his dedicated Vanderbilt doctors on many occasions with his courageous abilities to overcome even the most challenging of physical obstacles. His otolaryngologist, Dr. Michael Topf, rapidly became one of his greatest admirers, and enthusiastically introduced Phil to his residents by stating, “This is my superstar!” The family deeply appreciates this devoted doctor who always went above and beyond the typical expected care on Phil’s behalf.
Arrangements have been entrusted to McReynolds, Nave and Larson Funeral Home, Clarksville Tennessee. Visitation will be on Saturday, November 25 from 3:00 pm until 6:00 pm and on Sunday, November 26 from 12:00 pm until the hour of service. A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Sunday, November 26 at 2:00 pm at the chapel of the funeral home with Dr. Larry Robertson officiating and Roy Buchanan assisting. Burial will follow the service at Sango Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Danny Magrans, Sam Baker, Ted Young, John Morrow, Robert Baker, Wes Marshall, Lloyd Johnson, and Justin Johnson.
To view livestream of Mr. Leeton's Funeral Service, click on Photos& Videos Tab above obituary.
Online condolences may be made at www.NaveFuneralHomes.com .
Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society.