Leanne Louise (Lee-Lee) Smart, aged 54, passed away on May 10th surrounded by her family. She was born on July 27, 1966 to Robert and Marilyn Smart. Prior to the 80's, Doctors would tell parent's to put children born with down's syndrome in institutions and forget about them. This happened to Leanne's parents. They were shocked by this and took their daughter home. This decision was easy for them in the beginning but they faced many difficulties ahead, difficulty with societal acceptance, and even from their own family and friends. There was a lack of resources and educational opportunities and yet she thrived. Leanne did not know but she became a part of a blossoming movement and a new way of thinking about differently-abled people.   Leanne had a positive impact on everyone she came in contact with. Everyone that came to know her, loved her. 
Leanne grew up in Farmington, Michigan with her very protective brother and 5 sisters. She attended Fairview Elementary in one of the first pilot programs for special needs called "mainstreaming", where she learned to read and write. She was preceded in death by her father, Robert, and is survived by her mother, Marilyn; siblings, Robert R. (Janice) Terri (Todd), Tracey (Mike), Ruth, and Chandra, along with 11 nieces and nephews and 11 great nieces and nephews.
No one loved life more than Lee-Lee. She was generally happy and very loving. She loved flashy clothes, jewelry, painting her nails and coloring her hair. She liked to make hook rugs and potholders.  Leanne liked to gamble a little, she would slowly open each pull tab, if you tried to hurry her along she would let you know about her mean right hook. She will forever be remembered for her vivacious personality, her ability to light up a room and her sparkling zest for life. She loved to dance, sing, and would spend hours every day listening to Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. She never knew a stranger, and she gave everyone a hug whether they thought they needed it or not.  Her charm was infectious and always kept us laughing with her jokes, countless impersonations and the occasional gibe. Leanne never forgot a birthday, if you met Leanne once she remembered your birthday forever and reminded everyone of hers. She loved her birthdays. She was kind, generous, and had a magic touch with little ones, especially her many nieces and nephews who adored her. Leanne touched every person she met in meaningful ways that often changed the way they thought about people with Down Syndrome.  We would like to thank all of our friends growing up who showed her such great love and kindness.  
Words cannot express how much her force of life will be missed in this world. We will always be grateful for her gifts to us: to wonder at the small blessings of the everyday, to look inside ourselves for contentment and outside ourselves for shared purpose. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the Arc of Livingston at

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