Obituary: Juanita Smith, 86, Bel Aire

BEL AIRE—Our Dearest Mom, Juanita June (Leeper) Smith, passed away unexpectedly Saturday, January 2, 2021 in her sleep at Catholic Care Assisted Living in Bel Aire, KS.  She was born August 23rd, 1934 to Ross Gardner Leeper Sr. and Beatrice Elizabeth Schuman. 

She was proceeded in death by her beloved husband Lewis Edward Smith, her rock of 43 years.  

Juanita was baptized into the Medicine Lodge, KS Seventh day Adventist church June 25, 1960.  She and Lewis helped to establish the Pratt Seventh day Adventist Church in which they were active for many years.  

Juanita was a cosmetologist running her beauty shop out of her home where she enjoyed conversing with clients about the latest news.  In addition, she worked as a hostess and waitress in restaurants throughout the community bringing smiles to the people she served.  

She loved flowers, roller skating, and was especially proud of her involvement in the 1951 Gypsum Hill Variety revue in Pratt, KS in which she was runner up in the beauty pageant.  It was rumored “she was the prettiest girl there.”  Juanita held her family dear to her heart and her love will always be a part of each of us.

Surviving are two sons, Ross Merritt of Victoria, KS and Mark (Kimberly) Tregellas of Bel Aire, KS; six grandchildren Justin, Jennifer, Kelly and Daniel Merritt and Courtney and Megan Tregellas; and six great-grandchildren. 

She was proceeded in death by her parents; two sisters, Laura Jane Leeper and Beverly Ann Leeper; and one brother, Ross Gardner Leeper Jr.

Visitation was last Thursday at Larrison Mortuary, 300 Country Club Road, Pratt.  Funeral service were held Friday, January 8, 2021 at First Christian Church, Pratt with Pastor Fred Dacosta presiding. Burial at Greenlawn Cemetery, Pratt.

Memorials may be made to Juanita Smith Memorial Fund in care of Larrison Mortuary. Online condolences may be made at

Posted online on January 16, 2021