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Lewis Keeler Leonard Jr.

September 8, 1932 — June 12, 2024

Olathe

Lewis Keeler Leonard, Jr., a resident of Olathe, KS, passed away June 12 th , 2024 at the age of 91. He was thankful for a lifetime of good health and many happy years spent with his family and friends.

Lewis was born in Abilene, KS to Lewis K. Leonard, Sr. and Melvena Burris Leonard on September 8, 1932. His early life was in Salina, KS and Smith Center, KS where he graduated from Smith Center High School in 1950. In high school, he was an active participant in sports as a three-year starter and four-year letter winner in football, plus basketball, track, and baseball. He served as a class officer, was active in theater productions, debate, and glee club. During the summers, he played on the American Legion Baseball team for four years. He was an Eagle Scout and served as a Boy Scout camp counselor at Camp Brown, Abilene, KS.

As a second-generation Jayhawk, Lewis graduated from the University of Kansas in 1954 with a BS in Finance. At KU, he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, a member of the KU-KU Club, Young Republicans, The Business School Council, The Arnold Air Society, and AFROTC serving as Wing Adjutant his Junior year and as Wing Executive Officer his Senior year. During the summer of 1953, Lewis attended the Air Force ROTC Summer Camp at Biggs Air Force Base, Texas along with several hundred other Cadets. During the camp, he served as a Squadron Commander, the Wing Commander and was selected as the AFROTC Most Outstanding Cadet. One highlight of the camp was being selected with 30 ROTC cadets and Cadets from West Point to attend the Air Force Fire Power Demonstration at Eglin Air Force Base, FL. During his two years while commissioned as a Lieutenant in the USAF, Lewis served as a Finance Officer at Richards-Gebaur AFB, MO.

Lewis Leonard and Sondra Roberts were married August 20, 1955 at the Old Mission Methodist Church in Fairway, KS. This loving marriage continued for 69 years and was blessed with four lovely daughters, Kelly Leonard Alward, Stephanie Roberts Leonard, Denise Leonard Armstrong and Shana Keeler Leonard.

After completing his USAF service, Lewis joined the American Can Co. in 1957 in Neenah, WI working in the Marathon Division home office until 1960 when he was assigned to product marketing in Los Angeles. Company promotions in sales management took the family to Houston, TX and Allentown, PA.

In 1965, Lewis joined Connecticut General Life Insurance Company in Kansas City. In 1967, a new assignment took the family to Simsbury, CT for his new position as Director of Agency Training in Connecticut General's home office in Bloomfield, CT. In 1969, Lewis was awarded the designation of Chartered Life Underwriter.

So that the family with four children could be closer to family, in 1970 Lewis accepted the position as General Agent in Kansas City for the State Mutual Life Insurance Company, settling in Overland Park, KS. This led to a long career of 54 years as an insurance broker specializing in business insurance and corporate employee benefits planning.

The things that he cherished most were his marriage to his wife Sondra and their children, grand-children and great-grand-children. He took great pride in their accomplishments and in their all becoming good citizens.

Lewis was predeceased by his parents, by his parents-in-law, Nathan Hathaway Roberts and Roberta Reese Roberts, and sister Gayle Leonard Knox. He is survived by Sondra Roberts Leonard, his wife of 69 years; daughter Kelly Leonard Alward (the late Dr. Peter Alward), Minneapolis, MN; daughter Stephanie Leonard, Shawnee Mission, KS; daughter Denise Leonard Armstrong and James Armstrong, Mission, KS; daughter Shana Keeler Leonard and husband Scott Laferte’, Olathe, KS; grand-children Emily Alward Ramirez and Capt. Joshua Ramirez, USMC, NC; Eric Nathaniel Alward and Elizabeth Krava Alward, Minneapolis, MN; Jenna Armstrong and Abigail Laferte’. Great-grand-children include Madelyn Ramirez, Mason Ramirez, Myles Ramirez and Clare Alward. Surviving sibling are Garry M. Leonard. 

Hobbies and other interests included reading, golf, tennis, gardening, volunteer work as a Johnson County Extension Master Gardener for 12 years and family travel with the most choice being winter trips to Sanibel Island, FL. The entire family are avid Kansas City Royals fans. And for his longest activity of all, a lifetime Kansas Jayhawk fan, attending and watching KU basketball and football games since 1948.

And I want to add a word of appreciation for his being able to enjoy an active life with good health for himself and for Sondra and the children, for more than a fair share of good luck, for his friends and for a lifetime of good memories.

To make a memorial donation, we suggest Harvesters Food Community of Kansas City.

There will be a Private Family Memorial Service at Columbarium at Pleasant Valley Cemetery, Overland Park, KS.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Lewis Keeler Leonard Jr., please visit our flower store.

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