Charles M. Leighton ’57, H’89

Charles M. Leighton ’57, who received an honorary doctor of law from Bowdoin in 1989, died February 24, 2013, in Burlington, Mass. He was born in Portland on June 4, 1935, son of the late Wilbur F. Leighton ’28, and prepared for college at St. Peter’s School in Peekskill, N.Y. A member of Zeta Psi fraternity, he founded the sailing team at Bowdoin and raised money to buy five new sailing dinghies for the team. He went on to become commodore of the New York Yacht Club. He earned a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University Business School in 1960, where he taught business for one year. He served to private first class in the Army. In 1968, he founded the CML Corporation, a conglomerate of brands that included, at various times, Nordic Trak, Boston Whaler, Hood Sailmakers, Smith & Hawkins, Carroll Reed, and The Nature Company. He served as chairman and CEO of the company. He also was a director at MetLife, president of the Harvard Business School Alumni Council, a long-time trustee of the Lahey Clinic, a member of the Babson College board, and chairman of the trustees of Concord Academy. His passion for fifty years was sailboat racing. He lived as a boy in Chatham, Mass., where he was active in the Chatham Yacht Club. He served as Commodore of the New York Yacht Club from 1992 to 1994, and chaired the Young America syndicate, the New York Yacht Club’s entry in the 2000 America’s Cup race. He won the Nathanael Greene Herreshoff Medal in 1995 for the best overall performance in the season’s races, the Astor Cup in 2000, and the Cygnet Cup in 2000 and 2008. His final service to the sport was as executive director of U.S. Sailing, sailing’s national governing body. He is survived by his wife, Roxanne McCormick Leighton; daughters Julie L. Leighton ’81 and Anne; and brother Frederick L. Leighton.

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