Douglas Patrick Leatherby

Douglas Patrick Leatherby

March 09, 1981 - May 22, 2023

Douglas Patrick Leatherby

March 09, 1981 - May 22, 2023


Douglas Patrick Leatherby
March 9, 1981 – May 22, 2023

Doug is survived by his parents Russ and Susie Leatherby, his sister Katie Gillin, his brother in law Peter Gillin, nieces Annie and Susie, aunt Joann Leatherby and her husband Greg, aunt Linda MacDonald and husband Dave, and aunt Marna Hall. He was predeceased by his grandparents Ralph and Eleanor Leatherby and by grandparents Adrian and Mary Thiel.

Doug was born and raised in South Orange County. As a young boy he loved Ghostbusters, staying with his grandmother Amma, movies, vacations with his family, waterparks and rollercoasters. Later he fell in love with basketball. At age seven it became apparent that he had severe learning disabilities and developing emotional challenges. He enrolled in Prentice Day School which served him well through the eighth grade despite increasing evidence of autism spectrum issues and social deficits. For high school Doug attempted to mainstream to Santa Margarita Catholic where his sister Katie attended. After two years of intense effort on the part of his mother and the wonderful staff at Santa Margarita to make it work for Doug, he had his first breakdown and was diagnosed with schizophrenia in addition to other mental disabilities. After a series of hospitalizations, Doug went away to the Riverview School, a special education boarding school in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where he had some of his best years.

After Riverview, Doug came back to Orange County to live in Casa de Amma, an assisted living residence for adults with special needs, that his family built to help him and others like him. Unfortunately, Doug’s psychiatric issues deteriorated to the point that he was unable to live at the Casa. Over the following decade, he was in and out of numerous psychiatric facilities. In 2016, he found stability at Braxton Villas, a group home operated under the loving care of Delia Ranca and her family.

While this was not the life his family would have chosen for him, Doug’s life did have love, joy, laughter, the presence of God and the kindness of so many. Doug’s life reminded us that each life is significant and each life has a purpose. All along the way Doug was lifted up by countless Angels here on Earth. God used Doug’s life to bring out the best in the rest of us. What greater purpose could he have had and what more could his life mean for the glory of God? Despite the enormous difficulties of his life, his family is eternally grateful for it all.

Doug passed away unexpectedly at age forty-two, but his family is comforted by knowing that his fear and anxieties are no more and that he is at peace in the arms of his Savior. The family would like to thank all of the many angels who showed Doug incredible love over the years. God is smiling on you all.

To honor Doug tax deductible donations may be made to Casa de Amma, Inc., 27231 Calle Arroyo, San Juan Capistrano CA 92675.


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2 responses to Douglas Patrick Leatherby

  1. Erin Finch Nutting says:

    To the Leatherby Family,
    What a beautiful tribute you wrote! I remember Doug from preschool and playing with him when our families got together when we were young. It has been a very long time since I’ve seen you all, but I remember him fondly. You are in my prayers as you navigate this enormous loss. May you all experience God’s great love and comfort.
    With love,
    Erin Finch Nutting

  2. Brad and Jill Yates says:

    Brad and I (Jill) Yates are so sorry for the loss of your beloved son, Doug. We happened to be visiting Brian here in Orange County when we saw his obituary. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of his family at this time. Doug was an amazing young man.

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