Robert “Leon” Smith, age 80 of Riverton, passed away at 12:50 a.m. on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at Mercy Hospital in Joplin, Mo. following an illness.

Leon was born in Galena, Kan. on December 11, 1937 to the union of Walter Glen Smith and Edna Lorene (Easley) Smith. He had been a lifetime resident of Cherokee County, residing in Riverton, Galena, and Baxter Springs.

Leon spent 40 years of his working career at Missouri Steel in Joplin, Mo. After that company closed, he spent nine years in maintenance at Walmart before retiring in 2014.

He was united in marriage with Sue LaTurner in Riverton, Kan. at her father’s home on March 24, 1959. They had recently celebrated their 59th Wedding Anniversary.

Throughout local sports organizations, Leon exhibited his love for his family. In his son’s youth, he served as a baseball coach, and it was also common to see him working the “chain gang” at football games. He participated in a number of local bowling leagues throughout the area, and was very handy in lawnmower repair. Everyone in the Riverton area would visit him to start their mowing season off right. He loved fishing, and was often out-fished by his great-granddaughter. His sense of humor was a defining character trait that stayed with him even throughout the most recent hospital stay as he picked on the nurses. He always had a story to share, and you had better be prepared to laugh. He loved his family very much, and he will be dearly missed.

He is survived by his loving wife, Sue Smith of Riverton; one son, Robby Smith (wife, Janie) of Miami, OK; three grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and three step great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Lorene; and one brother, Earl Glen Smith.

Mr. Smith was entrusted to Derfelt Funeral Home of Galena for cremation. The family will hold a memorial service at 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 3, 2018 at Tennessee Prairie Friends Church. Pastors Dave and Mary Robinson will officiate. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his name to the local animal shelter of your choice.

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