SMITH JR., Leander Mar 10, 1926 – Apr 4, 2020

Leander Eugene “Lee” Smith Jr., 94, Kokomo, passed away at 1:22 p.m. Saturday, April 4, 2020, at Ascension St. Vincent in Kokomo. He was born March 10, 1926, in West Lafayette, Indiana, the son of the late Leander Eugene Sr. and Mary Glea (Heeter) Smith. On June 8, 1978, he married Patricia Louise “Patty” Gilbert, who survives.
Lee graduated in 1943 from the Culver Military Academy, the Black Horse Troop. He graduated in 1944 from Kokomo High School and then in 1950 from Butler University, where he earned a business degree. He served with the United States Air Force, retiring as major after 21 years, and he served in WWII, Korea, and the Vietnam War. Above all he was a gentleman and a patriot who loved his country.
Lee retired from General Motors after 17 years of service. He was a member of Grace United Methodist Church and former member of the Kokomo Country Club. Lee enjoyed skiing, traveling, the Breakfast Club at McDonald’s with his friends, and playing golf and he got a hole in one while in Maryland. He loved his dog “Molly” and watching Butler basketball. Lee was able to go on the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., with his stepson, David.
Along with his wife, Patty, Lee is survived by his children, Chris (Jeff) Burkart, and Sarah (George) Nichter; stepchildren, Cynthia (Maury) Wolfred, Lisa (Carl) Howard, and David (Lisa) Matlock; grandchildren, David Railey, Andy Burkart, Matt Burkart, Leanne Vencil, Mark Wolfred, Maggie Wolfred, Drew Wolfred, Stewart Matlock, Maddie Barton, Landon Matlock, Evan Matlock, C.J. Howard, Avery Howard, Suzanne Howard, and Hallie Howard, along with 23 great-grandchildren.
Lee was preceded in death by his parents and first wife, Gloria Smith.
Private graveside services were held in Sunset Memory Garden Cemetery, with Pastor Dave Osborne officiating. A celebration of life service will be held at a later date. Shirley & Stout Funeral Home & Crematory has been entrusted with arrangements. Memorial contributions may be made in Lee’s memory to a charity of the donor’s choice. Messages of condolence may be left online at

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