Leighton Hepker, 65, of Maquoketa, Iowa died on Friday, January 11, 2019 at his home in Maquoketa, Iowa.
Leighton was born on January 4, 1954 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Oliver and Dawn (Mills) Hepker. He was raised in Linn County and graduated from Springville High School in 1972 and Kirkwood Community College in 1974. He then earned a degree from the Columbia School of Broadcasting in Los Angeles in 1975. He began his long career at KMAQ Radio in Maquoketa in June of 1975 and became well-known in his early years for the many play-by-play sporting events he broadcast on KMAQ. It was also in Maquoketa that he met his future wife, Cindy Kudart. They were married on June 23, 1979 in Iowa City, Iowa and to this union two children were born, Justin and Adam. In 1995, he received a news media award from the Iowa High School Athletic Association. He also was an active high school basketball official for 25 years. He was inducted into the Maquoketa High School Hall of Fame in the fall of 2017 as a "Friend of the Maquoketa Schools".
Leighton was involved in the Maquoketa community serving as past President of the Maquoketa Chamber of Commerce, Mayor of Maquoketa for five years, board member of the Community Foundation of Jackson County and the Jackson County Regional Health Center Board of Trustees. He was a charter member of the Maquoketa Kiwanis Club joining the organization when it was formed in 1989. He also was a member of First Lutheran Church in Maquoketa serving on various committees.
He had many passions in life. Among them were the St. Louis Cardinals and the Maquoketa Cardinals.
He has deeded his body to the Anatomy and Cell Biology Department at the University of Iowa for medical research and education.
A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at 2 P.M., Thursday, January 17, 2019 at First Lutheran Church in Maquoketa. Visitation will be held from 3 to 7 P.M., Wednesday, January 16, 2019, in "The Bistro" at Carson Celebration of Life Center in Maquoketa.
Those left to honor his memory include his wife, Cindy Hepker of Maquoketa, IA; two sons, Dr. Justin Hepker and his wife Dr. Lauren Coyne of Iowa City, IA, and Adam Hepker and his wife Amy of Surprise, AZ; 2 granddaughters; 1 grandson; a sister Melody (Bob) Allen in TX; a half-sister, Sherryl (Doug) Hahl in OK; and one niece. He was preceded in death by his parents, Oliver and Dawn Hepker.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, memorials may be given to First Lutheran Church, Hospice of Jackson County or the Community Foundation of Jackson County.
Online Condolences may be left at www.CarsonAndSon.com.
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Leighton’s sister Melody was a classmate and friend of mine. Our brothers many years younger. She was always proud of Leighton. My brother and Leighton were classmates and friends. My friend and Sister-in-law said he was one of the best men she ever knew. When she was separated from her parents in the early 70s, he made sure she got to school and filled a brotherly role. For that I’m grateful. Thank you Leighton! Love to your family. Christine Stanton Grandon
so sorry to hear of Leighton's death. We still live in Marion next to where Dawn lived. She was a great neighbor. Our sincere sympathy to the Hepker family.
Bob & Sherry Murray
My memory goes back to 1983 when Preston and Maquoketa went to state in boys basketball. I was a player on the Preston team and was totally impressed by his professionalism and excitement he had before and after each game. He truly loved what he did on and off the air.
Our communities will surely miss him!
Had the pleasure of working with and sometimes for Leighton and the KMAQ family. He was a major market talent, and we are all fortunate he stayed in Iowa and allowed us to benefit from those talents. Prayers to his family from John Kuhens and the KILJ Radio crew in Mt. Pleasant
I would like to extend my sincere sympathy from the Young family . As children we spent a lot of time together at the farm , reunions and picnics playing with Leighton , Melody and Cheryl , fond memories . Our thoughts and prayers for your family , Bruce Young .
Cindy, Justin and Adam my deepest sympathy. May the memories in your heart comfort you today and always. Leighton was a wonderful ambassador to Maquoketa. Always a smile and a kind word. A diehard St Louis Cardinal fan, I remember going to the 1982 world series with him. He now has a front row seat. GO CARDS!!
Cindy, Adam, and Justin. I was so sorry to hear of your loss. Leighton was a remarkable man and will be missed by Maquoketa You have my sincere sympathy and I am praying for your family. Irene Lansing/Vogel
With Our Deepest Sympathy- HEPKNER FAMILIES !!😘💖 Harry Shady
I always enjoyed my annual St. Louis Cardinals baseball chats with him when I attended the Kiwanis Golf outing every year. Also enjoyed his distinct voice on the radio. My God hold Leighton in the palm of his hand.
So sorry for your loss Cindy, Justin, and Adam. Leighton was a “Cardinal” in many ways. He was always involved in the community and the schools. I always appreciated the sports coverage he provided for all the school teams. I also have fond memories of the news and interviews shows. I loved to talk and he made it so easy to have natural conversation while discussing middle school news or team news.
Cherish the memories.
Sorry for your loss. I had the honor of being interviewed by Leighton a couple of times on the radio. I told people that he was great a making you feel like he was talking to you just like he was just chatting on a sidewalk. He actually caught my wife Jessica and I outside of the dairy barn at the fair to interview us,will never forget it . Leighton will never be forgotten. Scott and Jessica Hingtgen
I am sorry for your incredible loss.
Cindy, we are so sorry to hear about Leighton. Our hearts go out to you and your family. Mary and Larry Baker
We are so sorry for your loss. Cindy, Justin and Adam, we have such fond memories of sporting events and time we spent together! This is a truly a technical foul for him to have to leave so soon. Prayers for you all,
Cindy, Justin, and Adam—Thinking of all of you and sending our deepest sympathy. We know Leighton will be greatly missed by so many in the Maquoketa community. May the peace that comes from the memories of love shared comfort you now and in the days ahead. Sonja and Pat Hurley
Our family is so sorry to hear of the loss of Leighton! We are praying for his family and hope you can somehow find peace in the fact that such a wonderful man is certainly with God and is now pain free. Personally, I remember how talented he was in so many ways, as well as always giving of those talents and his time. From coaching the young kids' basketball teams, to officiating, to being a top notch broadcaster, and of course, just being a wonderful human being that people enjoyed being around. I will miss the short time we had together at the start of each school year, discussing school and basketball for the KMAQ Road Show. Whether it was there or someplace special like the state tourney, he had the ability to immediately put you at ease during his interviews and always asked the right questions. And I always marveled at the fact that people like Leighton and Jack Marlowe chose to work in a smaller community when their talents were certainly worthy of somewhere like New York or LA! Maquoketa and the immediate area has truly been blessed over many years! Dan and Carla Beck Family
Started at KROS just after Leighton had begun his career and over the 40 years our paths crossed covering sports, always enjoyed his play by play style and also admired his professionalism in handling interviews and other assignments he was given. He was a pretty good basketball official also. Rest in Peace. Gary Determan
I am so sorry to hear this. I sat many a time across the desk from Leighton on the radio and never a kinder and funnier guy be heard. His leadership and support were much appreciated. RIP Leighton. Prayers to the family and know that your husband and Dad indeed had an impact on this community.
My deepest sympathy for the family. What a nice man he was! I was so sorry to see this.
As a former basketball official and broadcaster I can speak about Leighton as a professional on the court and behind the microphone. He will truly be missed.
So sorry for your loss. You and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers.
Darlene Bolsinger - Reflections in the Park (Hillcrest Family Services, Dbq.)
Cindy, I cannot imagine. It sounds like Leighton was a great man, husband, father, member of the community. I am so sorry I was out of town when you saw Doug and the Lincoln Wine Bar. I would love to meet you there for dinner sometime soon, or anywhere else that is convenient for you. Please know I am holding you in my heart and praying for peace and strength over the next several weeks. Hugs and love.
Cindy, Justin and Adam, thinking of all of you and sending sympathy and prayers. My heart too is filled with sorrow - so hard to say goodbye to Leighton - a real treasure to all in this community. Left us way too soon, but I am so happy he was here long enough to become a grandparent and know how much that meant to him. Justin and Adam your dad took such pride in both of you and it was well deserved. A super fan of the Cardinals - both of them - since before you were born... I remember your mom with him in those early days at the games though expecting and I remember your Dad saying that child would be born cheering C-A-R-D-S! Many ,many memories I'm sure shared by the entire community. Even in death, Leighton was still doing for others in donating his body to the U o I for research. He died as he lived. Rest in Peace and with no more pain, Leighton. You will be so missed by so many.
Our deepest sympathy to the Hepker family. Our thoughts & prayers are with you all during this difficult time.May your memories bring you strength, peace & comfort. Leighton will truly be missed by many. He has impacted many us & touched our hearts. He will never be forgotten.🙏❤️🙏❤️
So sorry for your loss. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Cindy and family,
Heaven is getting a true gentleman. For those of us who knew him as a servant in our community in many ways, we will forever be thankful that he chose to live here.
May he rest in peace.
So sorry to hear about Leighton!
Our sincere condolences to the Hepker family. I knew Leighton as a super basketball official. He was great at calling games. Jim Demmer, Western Dubuque High School.
Leighton was the guy on the street who always had a smile on his face and said hi
Adam, I remember the many trips your dad and mother made to your games at MNU. He was a good man. So sorry for your loss. May God grant your family comfort and peace during this time of great loss.
Dennis and Teresa Miller
OMG..I am so, so sorry to hear of your loss. I did not know Leighton that well, but know that he must have been a fantastic human being, having married my childhood friend and truly, a family member in Cindy. My deepest condolences to you and I wish you the healing of your hearts as fast as G*D will allow. May he Rest in Peace.
Leighton was a great ambassador for the town of Maquoketa. He will be missed by many. Our sympathy to you, Cindy and your family.
Cindy and Family, it was great knowing leighton and I remember in Gary Bruns’s AG Animal Science class at MHS listening to leighton do sports, job bank and some AG
From me and my staff at Luke Johnson Entertainment
He will be missed
Cindy, I am so sorry for your loss. Please extend my condolences to your family as well. Judy Dasovich
Cindy and family...I am so sorry for your loss. I was working at KMAQ and remember the day
when this young man came in to apply for a job and Dennis saw the potential. He has been an asset to Maquoketa and we will miss him.
Great man indeed sorry for your loss Cindy and family I disagreed with him several times on several issues but he was a man of his word
I started as a student announcer at KMAQ in 1975 - Leighton was fun to be around and always positive. He made my time there a joy, and every time I would see him his smile and positive comments were sure to there. RIP Leighton and sympathy to Cindy and Family
Very sad news to hear! Leighton was such a huge asset to the community and so giving of his time. Just a great man and an even greater loss to all he leaves behind. Many prayers!
Justin & family,
I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your father. It sounds like he was a wonderful person, who really contributed to his community, such a legacy! My thoughts & prayers are with you.
"Go CARDS" sums it up!
MAQUOKETA’’S loss. Cindy and family, you have our deepest sympathy.
So sorry to hear of your loss. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.
rest in peace Leighton.Our prayers to the family. Roy and Deb Wilhelm
I am so sad to see this. Leighton was a wonderful supporter of Jackson County and Bellevue. Prayers to his family. Colleen Myers
Maquoketa has lost a great treasure in Leighton Hepker, he was literally the voice of our town, he will be sorely missed.
Our sincere condolences to the Family.
Cindy, Justin, Adam & families of Leighton, So very sorry to hear of your loss. Keeping you in my prayers.
So sorry for your loss Cindy, we are keeping you and your family in our thoughts and prayers. God bless you all.
Our deepest sympathies to the Hepker family. Maquoketa lost a great person. Prayers and God’s blessings.
Thinking of you Cindy. My heartfelt sympathy to you and your family.
Leighton has been in our thoughts and prayers in these past months. We send our heartfelt condolences Cindy, Justin, and Adam. May he rest now, free of pain and discomfort, and may he live on in our fond memories.
I’m sure all of Maquoketa is hurting. Leighton was the voice of this town for years. He truly loved his job and this town. He will be remembered for some time to come. Rip knowing that you made a difference here.
Our deepest sympathy to all. Leighton will be sorely missed by so many in the community. He certainly leaves a wonderful legacy.
Leighton was a class act! I remember when I was a student announcer at KMAQ in 95 he always had positive words of encouragement for me. Rest easy Leighton.
Gone to soon...many great memories raising our boys together. God bless you Cindy, Justin, Adam. The Spains
I am so sorry to hear of Leighton's Maquoiket
Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Leighton was a great person and we always enjoyed talking with him when he would come into Genos in Preston or when we would meet him on the street in Maquoketa. Maquoketa is certainly losing one of it’s finest. Gene and Marcia Camp
Leighton was a great person, always friendly and candid, and he represented the community and his family well. He will be missed. May he RIP and may God keep you in HIS care and comfort.
Cindy, Adam and Justin,
Valerie and I are deeply saddened to hear of Leighton's passing. He was always so gracious to us when in his presence and I'll always remember his encouragement and kind words whenever I performed at Ohnward. He was not only a neighbor for 17 years but also a fellow Kiwanian and huge presence in Maquoketa. He was always a pleasure to visit with. His willingness to always help others has earned him a special place in God's home. May we all share in God's glory together again. Our thoughts and heartfelt prayers in the days ahead.
Cindy and family, I am so sorry to hear of Leighton's passing. Leighton and I were in school together and lived on the same road. So I started my day on the bus with Leighton. I am sure he will be missed by many. Leighton was one on God's best ideas.
My thoughts and prayers are with your entire family.
April Everding Edwards
Cindy, family, and entire Maquoketa community,
We are so sorry to hear of Leighton's passing. He was a very kind man and a great asset to Maquoketa. We enjoyed our years being your back door neighbors. We send our deepest condolences.
I remember when Leightom first came to town, I worked st yhe courthouse. We had a mutual friend from Springville and shared many laughs together. Rest on peace my friend. You will be missed by all who knew and loved you
My thoughts and prayers are with you.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.
So sad. Thoughts and prayers for family and friends. RIP
Cindy and Family, our deep and heartfelt sympathy. Leighton was just about the finest, friendliest and most supportive gentleman with whom we interacted in Maquoketa and the area. He made every “ Views and Interviews” experience a joy, and we will miss him profoundly.
Our warmest condolences,
John and Janet (and the entire PPP community)
Rest pain free & in peace. Great man.
Leighton was one of a kind- always a smile and a friendly hello, he was always willing to help out in any way..He did alot for our community and for that we thank you ever so much.. Going to miss that smooth, easy voice on the radio...Cindy and boys&families, know this is rough, but you got lots and lots of good friends and memories to help you, treasure them.
I'm sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
We lost a kind gentle man that always made us feel welcome with his warm smile. Rest in Peace Leighton. Please accept our condolences and prayers for the family.
Cindy and family - we are thinking of you... Leighton was a kind man and such a community leader. I will miss his voice on KMAQ and enjoyed the times I worked with him on advertising.
Cindy and Family, We are so sorry for your loss. Leighton will be missed by all that new him and it is a great loss to our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
So so sorry to hear this.He was the best radio person around.You could listen to his voice all day.He will truly be missed by every one
Leighton will surely be missed by family, friends and community. He was a wonderful human being and went the extra mile wherever needed. Peace be with you. Janet (Wood) Pollock
Cindy and Family, We are so sorry to have lost such a wonderful man. His life was in service to all. His giving nature and infectious smile and laugh will live on in our memory. His place in heaven is ready and he will be welcomed by those he loved that have gone before him. May God's peace be with you all and support you during this difficult time of loss. Wendy and Dennis Scott
Shock is the word as we learned of the death of such a nice person that contributed his life for our community for many years! Without a doubt he will be missed and remembered for so many things and projects in our community.
Robert & Bonnie CHristensen in Marshalltown
Cindy and family-so sorry and shocked! Please accept my condolences and prayers. It's never easy,however, but support and love will ease your pain !
Lyle sends his condolences, he enjoyed working with Leighton at KMAQ and has many happy memories
So sorry for your loss. My sympathy and condolences to the family. Dee Ewing
Leighton was a piler of the Maquoketa community and helped make it a better place to live, work, and play. He will be greatly missed.
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