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In memoriam: Leta Keefe

“Hello handsome! Where have you been all my life?”

I was startled and more than a bit confused. Who would be saying that to me as I stood next to the table where a weekly Bible study would begin in a few minutes…and say it no less in the presence of my wife? Shifting around to see who was speaking, I heard another compliment—this time directed to my wife standing behind me.

- Activity director Mona Champion (left) and Leta were frequent companions during Leta’s stay at the Smith Center.

“You’re vivacious!” The voice was filled with enthusiasm. “You have such a beautiful voice.”

The speaker, a new resident at the RMSC at the time, was Leta Keefe, all decked out with numerous necklaces and rings. She was faithful in attending the study, passing out abundant compliments every week. Leta would eventually spend 8 happy years at the Ruth M. Smith Center where she is remembered today as one who loved to socialize with both visitors and her fellow residents.

- Leta, all decked out with necklaces and rings, along with her friend MaryAnne on a field trip.

Executive Director Kim Adams remembers, “Leta welcomed

everyone who came through our doors with a big smile and a compliment. She especially liked men and embarrassed more than one contractor or UPS driver telling them how handsome they were.”

Kim reflected, “Everyday Leta walked around the building with a duster going over all the furniture while asking if anyone needed something dusted.”

After Leta’s death in 2017, family and friends donated $10,000 to the Ruth Smith Center to build something in her memory—something which would benefit the Center’s residents.

- The well-constructed pavilion equipped with benches is an ideal spot to enjoy a sunny afternoon.

Recognizing that a place to gather and socialize would be an ideal memorial, the Center purchased a well-constructed pavilion and equipped it with foldable benches able to be re-positioned as picnic tables. It has been placed just outside the mansion residential building where Leta spent so many happy days.

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