A. LeRoy Lightner, Jr.

April 26, 1921 ~ May 8, 2017 (age 96)

Provided by DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home, Inc.

Obituary Photo


Graveside Service
May 12, 2017

2:00 PM
Grove Methodist Cemetery
West Chester, PA
Memorial Service
May 18, 2017

11:00 AM
Croasdaile Village
Durham, NC

A. LeRoy Lightner, Jr., 96, died on May 8, 2017 in Durham, North Carolina.

He leaves his daughters, Karen Jeanne Lightner and Laura Lightner Gorham, his son Kevin Muir Lightner, his son-in-law Herbert J. Gorham III, his grandchildren Kathryn Grace Gorham and Andrew Merritt Gorham, as well as many beloved friends.

He was born on April 26, 1921 in Wyomissing, PA, to A. LeRoy and Grace Thompson Lightner.

He attended Franklin & Marshall College, graduating in 1942 with a degree in Government. He was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha, Pi Gamma, Blue Key and Druid fraternities and the John Marshall Society. His devotion to his alma mater would later lead him to become Class Agent since 1946; President of Alumni Council, 1960-61; and Chairman of Alumni Fund, 1962-1970.

On July 22, 1950, he married Betty Pauline Jenkins, daughter of the late William H. Jenkins and Alene Berrie Jenkins, of Fort Fairfield, Maine.

He was a Vice-President at N.W. Ayer (advertising agency) in Philadelphia, Boston and New York for 34 years, managing the Du Pont, Goodyear, Texaco, and Regal Shoe accounts.

He “Retired” in 1980 to become National Director of the United Methodist $25 million Television Presence & Ministry Campaign, based in Nashville, TN.

From 1982 to 2001 he was with Carden & Cherry, Inc. as Senior Vice President of Marketing. His creative efforts and marketing expertise resulted in the phenomenal success of advertising campaigns featuring Jim Varney as “Ernest P. Worrell”. An appearance by “Ernest” at the Indianapolis 500 alerted Michael Eisner to the phenomenal popularity of “Ernest” resulting in the production a series of popular Disney movies, Ernest Goes to Camp, Ernest Scared Stupid, etc.

A dedicated genealogist, Roy was a Life Member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, the Berks County Genealogical Society, the Tulpehocken Settlement Historical Society and the Sons of the American Revolution. He was also a member of Berks and Chester County Historical Societies and the Society of Genealogists (London).

Very active in the United Methodist Church, he was President of the Philadelphia Conference Board of Missions and Church Extension, 1963-1968; Director of Methodist Development Fund, 1965-1968; Lay Leader for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, the Northern New Jersey Conference and the Cumberland District (TN); President of the Northeastern Jurisdiction Board of Laity, 1978-1980; Board of Trustees, Morristown College, 1978-1988; Board of Directors McKendree Village (continuing care retirement center); Lay Delegate to General Conferences, 1964, 1976 and 1996; and Delegate to the World Methodist Council, Rio de Janeiro, 1996.

He was an 18-year resident of Croasdaile Village United Methodist Retirement Home in Durham, North Carolina, where he was very active in the community.

Relatives and friends are invited to his Graveside Service at 2:00pm on Friday, May 12, 2017 at Grove Methodist Cemetery, 490 W. Boot Rd., West Chester, PA 19380.

His Memorial Service will be held at 11:00am on Thursday, May 18, 2017 in the Chapel at Croasdaile Village, 2600 Croasdaile Farm Parkway, Durham, NC 27705.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Hock Family Pavillion, Duke Hospice, 4023 N. Roxboro Rd, Durham, NC 27704 or Croasdaile Benevolent Fund, 2600 Croasdaile Farm Parkway, Durham, NC 27705.

Arrangements by DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home, Inc. 610-696-1181, www.DellaFH.com