Obituary: Lisa Whittall


Lisa Whittall

Lisa Leighton Whittall, 92, died peacefully on Sunday, Feb. 24 in Greenwich, CT, of natural causes. She was the daughter of George Eliot Leighton who was Vice President of the Fiduciary Trust Company of New York and Lisa Gilman Todd Leighton and was born on Sept. 22, 1926 in NYC. She was the granddaughter of George B. Leighton, cofounder of the Harvard Business School and Henry A. Todd, Ph.D., Professor of romance languages at Columbia University.

As a child the family summered in Newport and Fairfield, CT. Lisa attended the Chapin School and was presented to society in NYC. and Baltimore during the 1942 season. After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College she removed to Turkey to teach English at Robert College, the American school in Istanbul. While there Lisa met and was married in 1951 to her husband Ian Quentin Whittall, an Englishman. The couple moved back to the United States in 1955 where she raised her two children, Eric and Eliot in Greenwich, CT and lived in Guatemala with her husband for several years in the 1970’s. Lisa worked at the American Museum of Natural History where she was a curatorial assistant of textiles in the Department of Anthropology in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, and in her early years there was an associate of Margaret Mead. In addition, she participated in the documentation of a collection at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Lisa was a member of the Colony Club and Asia Society in NYC, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Belle Haven Club in Greenwich, CT. She was a contributor to numerous charities and enjoyed attending lectures with friends at the Foreign Policy Association in New York. Lisa was an avid traveler, and loved her animals. She was much beloved by her many friends and family and will be remembered for her warmth, gracious manner, and broad sense of humor.

Lisa was predeceased by her devoted husband Ian, who died in 2014. She is survived by her sons Eric of Guilford, CT and Eliot of Miami Beach, Fla., and their partners Marybeth and Richard (Dick) as well as her grandsons Boyd and Ian, whom she loved dearly. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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