Obituary Listings

John Smith Leitch

May 26, 1930 November 3, 2018
John Smith Leitch
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Obituary for John Smith Leitch

John Smith Leitch of Seattle Washington, 88, died peacefully in his sleep on November 3, 2018, finishing a lifetime of service. He was a man of integrity with a ready sense of humor and an insatiable desire to help others.
John was born to John W. Leitch and Clara Johnston in Seattle, WA on May 26, 1930 and met the love of his life, Shirley Jeanne Russell, only 15 years later. Following their marriage on November 3, 1950, John and Shirley raised four children, giving them abundant time, countless adventures and important life lessons. He loved the outdoors and taught his children to find joy in nature as well.
John served as a police officer for 30 years - from 1951 through 1981 - retiring as a Major with the Seattle Police Department after leading the department's first crime analysis and riot control units and commanding the vice control, crimes against property, and crimes against persons and finally, criminal investigation division.
In addition to serving countless citizens of Seattle as a police officer, John's service also extended beyond his work hours, including active participation in his children's scouting, church, and school activities and coaching and leading youth activities in tough neighborhoods. Ultimately, his desire to spend more time with and help care for his growing family led him to forgo further promotions and retire, blessing his friends and family alike with many years of devotion and humor.
John was the loving caregiver for his wife from her diagnosis with cancer in 1995 until her death in 2006. On multiple occasions, he opened his home to his grandchildren and blessed them with the kind of love and encouragement that only a grandparent can provide. He transported friends battling illness to doctor's appointments and regularly checked in on others to see if they needed help. Even as he declined, John found purpose in helping several friends and former policemen at his retirement home.
John helped those around him see what is truly important and taught us that love includes not only kindness and gentleness, but also sacrifice. "The true measure of success," John once shared, "is that you are strong enough to help others."
John was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley, and is survived by his children Mike (Doris) Leitch, Rod Leitch, Laura (Bert) Davis, and David (Cassie) Leitch; his grandchildren Elisabeth (Jeff) Walls, Jaime Popovich, David Coogan, Rosalyn (Joseph) Gambino, Alyssa Coogan, and Tyler Leitch; and six great grandchildren.
Per his wishes, no public memorial service will be held. Donations in John's honor can be made to the Seattle Police Foundation.


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