Leo H. Smith
February 27, 1948 - July 11, 2021
Birthplace: Council Bluffs, Iowa
Resided In: Red Oak, Iowa

Service 7/17/2021
Wilson Performing Arts Center
Burial 7/17/2021
Emerson Cemetery

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Leo Harold Smith was born February 27, 1948, in Council Bluffs, Iowa to Harold and Faye (Lang) Smith of rural Emerson, Iowa. He passed away unexpectedly on July 11, 2021 at Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs. As an avid ice cream aficionado, Leo enjoyed daily blizzards from Dairy Queen during his stay in the hospital. Leo also made friends with all the hospital staff, which was typical since he never met a stranger.

Leo was the youngest of five children. He graduated from Nishna Valley High School near Emerson and then followed his siblings to Iowa State University where he pledged Delta Tau Delta Fraternity and studied Farm Operation, graduating in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science degree. Leo served in the Iowa Army National Guard from 1969-1975.

Leo followed his father into farming after he graduated from college. A few years later, he met the love of his life, Sarah Anne Wearin, at a picnic at Steve (Moose) Mainquist’s house. They disagreed for decades whether this counted as their first meeting, since Sarah remembered it, but Leo did not. This was no impediment to love, however, as Leo and Sarah were married on July 5, 1975 in Red Oak. They raised their family of three sons, Alexander, Riley, and Elliot, on their farm near Red Oak and then on the Wearin family farm near Hawthorne.

For over 27 years Leo raised corn and soybeans, feeder cattle, and cow-calf pairs. He even experimented with hogs but decided they were not worth the effort, and Christmas trees, which were. In 1998, Leo decided farming was not as fun as it used to be, and he reinvented himself as an agricultural consultant – no easy task. Nevertheless, Leo persisted, and through hard work and good fortune he was able to transform his company, Ag Lender Consulting, Inc., into a healthy real estate appraisal business which he shared with his youngest son, Elliot. In addition to working as a licensed Certified General Real Property Appraiser in Iowa and Nebraska, Leo was also a licensed real estate salesman affiliated with Rubey Realty in Red Oak. Leo continued to work full time appraising and managing the family farm until his death.

Leo was a dedicated alumnus of Delta Tau Delta, attending many fraternity functions over the years and always visiting his Delt brothers when he traveled to Ames. Perhaps even more important to Leo than his fraternity was Iowa State. He was a dedicated Cyclone and happily shared that love with his family. He did such a good job that all three of his sons attended Iowa State; in fact, they didn’t even bother to apply elsewhere since they didn’t think any other college was as good as ISU. Although he was probably disappointed when his boys joined FarmHouse Fraternity instead of the Delts, he did not mention it. Leo and his family attended many Iowa State football and basketball games over the years, and he was not discouraged by the long droughts between winning seasons; he was just glad to be there to cheer on the Cyclones.

When the family was young, Leo served as cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 80, assistant leader of Boy Scout Troop 86, leader of the Garfield Wolves 4-H Club, and member of the Montgomery County Extension Council. He was a longtime member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks in Red Oak and of the Red Oak First Congregational United Church of Christ where he served on the Governing Board.
Leo also served on the Board of Directors of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board; as a director on the U.S. Feed Grains Council; and as a director on the U.S. Meat Export Federation. As a result of his service on these boards, he traveled to Central and South America on a study mission to consider supply and demand of white corn and to Russia with Sarah as part of a Soviet/Iowa Farmer Exchange. The family also hosted two Russian farmers as part of this Exchange. Leo served in all offices on the Mills-Montgomery Cattlemen’s Association and was a founding member of the Mills-Montgomery Corn Growers Association.
In recent years, Leo was a member of the Red Oak Ambassadors, served as a director of the Montgomery County Family YMCA, and served on the board of the Iowa State University Extension Armstrong Research Farm. Leo maintained numerous memberships in profession organizations, but his favorite was the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA). He attended many ASFMRA meetings for continuing education and networking.

Leo and Sarah loved traveling together, and they made many trips to see their sons in the US and abroad. In addition to their trip to Russia, they also traveled to Germany, Austria, Spain, Gibraltar, Morocco, Ireland, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia, Bahrain, and the Seychelles. Leo’s favorite comment in any new country was, “We’re not in Iowa anymore!”

Their strong marriage lasted 46 years until Leo’s death. Leo was incredibly proud of his family. His sons married three wonderful women and produced six delightful grandchildren, with whom Leo loved sharing books and tractor and combine rides. He would have enjoyed sharing naps with them, too, but the grandkids were way too wiggly for a good rest. Grandpa provided a favored lap for stories and cuddling with the little ones.

Leo’s surviving family includes his loving wife, Sarah; eldest son Alex and his wife Jennifer, and their children, Eleanor, Millicent, and Seth of Prairie Village, KS; middle son Riley and his wife Tracy, and their children Andalucia, Trakai, and Merida of Bahrain; and youngest son Elliot and his wife Ashleigh of Shenandoah. Leo is also survived by his sister Katie Smith and her husband Dick of Fort Myers Beach, FL; brother Bill Smith and his wife Delphine of Villisca; and sister Sally Whetstine and her husband Ed of Wellman. Other survivors include sister-in-law Elizabeth (Twink) Wearin of Red Oak; brother-in-law Andy Wearin and his wife Georgeann of Crowley, TX; sister-in-law Catherine Wearin of Cheyenne, WY; many nieces and nephews, and friends too numerous to count. He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother and sister-in-law, Russell and Jo Smith; father- and mother-in-law, Edward and Helen Wearin.

Friends are invited to a visitation for Leo at Nelson-Boylan-LeRette Funeral Chapel in Red Oak on Friday, July 16 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. Leo’s memorial service will be held at the Wilson Performing Arts Center, 300 Commerce Drive, Red Oak, Iowa on Saturday, July 17 at 10:00 AM followed by a reception at the Wilson rehearsal hall. Private burial of ashes will be held later in the day at the Emerson Cemetery. Memorials may be designated to the Indian Creek Museum in Emerson or the Montgomery County Family YMCA.

Nelson Boylan LeRette Funeral Chapel is responsible for arrangements.


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Nelson-Boylan-LeRette Funeral Chapel, Inc.
410 Sixth Street
Red Oak, Iowa 51566
Phone: (712) 623-2525 or
(800) 653-4881