Greg Layton-- artist, teacher, land preservationist, reader, a fan of politics and solutions, and veteran —passed on to a greater peace on July 6th at age 74 in Reading Hospital due to Babesiosis, a tick-borne blood disease. For 47 years, he was the deeply beloved partner of Deborah Kates, his lifelong artistic co-conspirator and best friend, and was born in Chester County Hospital to parents Martha Baylor Layton and Theodore R. Layton, both deceased. Always a collaborator for the greater good, Greg held student government leadership positions throughout his school years, and graduated from Gettysburg College in 1969 as senior class president; an excellent athlete, he played on the basketball, baseball, and track teams throughout school. He taught part-time math and art in the Philadelphia region in the 1970s and was loved by his students for his creative spirit and warmth. He was a proud part of Old City Arts – a seminal mid-1970s arts collaborative that helped kick start the Philadelphia cultural renaissance— and created, exhibited, and/or cooperated on endless art and performance projects throughout his life. With Deborah, he co-founded Coatesville Area Arts Alliance in 2002 to promote The Arts as key for stronger community economies and also served as a member and board director with the Western Chester County Chamber of Commerce, and with other environmental and community groups. Greg proudly served two years of stateside alternative citizen service at a hospital during the Vietnam War era, and continually lobbied for respect and appreciation for veterans, in particular for recognizing and treating PTSD; for seven years until the pandemic he worked as visiting staff for arts healing at Coatesville V.A. Medical Center. He considered his greatest art project to be fulfilling a longtime vision to save from development 147 of beautiful farmland in West Caln Township, Chester County, which had been in his extended family since 1942. The result of this complex 10-year process was the (West Caln Township) Theodore and Martha Layton Park and the connected open space recreation area. He loved seeing people enjoying the Park.
In addition to Deborah, he is survived by brothers Steve and Keith, and cousins, nieces, nephews, and lifelong friends. He is also predeceased by his beloved older brother, Roger. In his memory, please donate to the arts, environmental or veteran-related charity of your choice.
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