Cover photo for Gladys Lee Graves Leeper's Obituary
Gladys Lee Graves Leeper Profile Photo
1964 “Princess” 2024

Gladys Lee Graves Leeper

October 1, 1964 — February 13, 2024

Arkadelphia, Arkansas’

Gladys Lee Graves Leeper was a beloved grandmother, compassionate mother, devoted daughter, dutiful sister, and faithful friend. Gladys’ home from the day she greeted the world in Kansas City, Kansas on October 1, 1964, was a source of unconditional love. She was baptized at an early age, and later became a member of Greater Tate Temple Church Of God In Christ in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

The boundless love Gladys gave to others was matched only by her love for the Lord, who called her home on the evening of February 13, 2024. As Gladys passed peacefully, she left her earthly home in the same way she lived; surrounded by the family and friends she fought for with unshakable faith and protected every day with the power of prayer.

Gladys’ 59 years of unrelenting love for her family, community and the Lord wasn’t just her legacy. It was her birthright; a holy inheritance stretching past her god-fearing parents, Myrtle Freeman Garrett, and Douglas Graves.

Gladys graduated from Saratoga High School in May of 1983, in Saratoga, Arkansas. On June 26, 1985,  she entered active duty with the United States Navy and was honorably discharged on October 28, 1988, as a Navy Intelligence – Operational Intelligence Specialist, and received the honor of Navy Seaman of Quarter July – September 1986. On December 13, 1989, she enlisted with the Arkansas Army National Guard – HHC 1-153d Infantry in Malvern, Arkansas, and finally ending her career on December 12, 1993.

Gladys furthered her education by obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree from Henderson State University on August 5, 2005, a Master of Science degree in Library Science & Information Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania on July 8, 2016, and a Master of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Teaching from Henderson State University in December of 2016. She was inducted into the National Honor Society and was initiated as a member of the Hot Springs Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Gladys was committed to putting her faith into action, whether she was raising her three beautiful daughters, Audrianna, Arianna, and Avianna, working with high school and college students in the Trio Program at Ouachita Baptist University, librarian, serving at her church, or volunteering with her 111-year-old service sorority, she remained committed to serving others, just as Jesus did. She was a Sunday School teacher, loved to read about gerontology and hospice care. 

Gladys loved her children, and only granddaughter, Braylee. She took pride in supporting her girls! She loved to babysit and spent countless hours spoiling them with anything she thought their hearts desired. Gladys enjoyed making jewelry, gardening, sewing, knitting, and being around family. She was a huge fan of the 3-time Super Bowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.

Gladys was preceded in death by her maternal and paternal grandparents, her stepfather, Leo Garrett, and god-father, Roger Whitfield.

A lifetime of love and memories will be felt by her parents, Myrtle Freeman Garrett, Douglas (Gerinda) Graves; three daughters, Audrianna (Paul Hookfin) Leeper of Spring, TX; Arianna (McKenzie Arnold) Leeper of Arkadelphia, AR; Avianna (Brandon Walker) Leeper of Arkadelphia, AR; one granddaughter, Braylee Arnold of Arkadelphia, AR; three brothers, Robert (Debbie) Graves, Sr. of Springfield, MO; Douglas (Kimberly) Graves, Jr. of Tulsa, OK; Markl (Shawn) Graves of Kansas City, KS; two special sisters, Diana Leeper of Okolona, AR; Marsha Crenshaw of Tulsa, OK; three god-children, Christopher Benson of Wiley, TX; Stephanie Johnson of Delight, AR; Tanea Shelton of Jacksonville, FL; god-mother, Gladys Whitfield of Texarkana, TX; many special aunts, uncles, a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other family members, many friends, and the Greater Tate Temple COGIC Family. 


There will be no public visitation. A celebration of her life will be at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 24, 2024, at Greater Tate Temple Church Of God In Christ in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, with Supt. LeRoy Williams, eulogist. The interment will be at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, February 26, 2024, at Fort Smith National Cemetery in Fort Smith, Arkansas with military honors.

Robert Graves, Doug Graves, Mark Graves, Timothy Freeman, Terry Franklin, and Marcus Estes will serve as active pallbearers. Honorable to mention are Tim Freeman, Bill Freeman, Harold Vaughn, Tim Leeper, Jimmy Daryl Smith. 

Submitted by the Leeper Family

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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Monday, February 26, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Fort Smith National Cemetery

522 Garland Ave, Fort Smith, AR 72901

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