We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Smith Family Chapel
August 8, 1939 ~ May 20, 2022
Our loving Mama, Grams, GG, passed away peacefully at her home May 20, 2022 surrounded by her family. She was 82 years young.
Born in Pratt Kansas, to Robert and Lenna Staats on August, 8, 1939. She lived in Kansas until moving to Hanford California in her teenage years. It was in Hanford that she met and married the love of her life, Joe Glen Lea Sr , They spent the next 59 years together. During these 59 years our family was blessed to be raised in a loving Christian home, while being taught the importance of strong family ties, the values of honesty, integrity, hard work, and perseverance. For this legacy we will always be grateful.
Betty was whole heartily devoted to her family. Milestone events such as births of the grandchildren, great grandchildren, graduations, weddings, holidays and everything in between, she was always there. She led by example. There was never a situation in life that she didn’t embrace with the “go with the flow” or the "well it could always be worse” type attitude. She taught us to always find the best in every situation.
She was a strong, determined and fiercely independent woman. Often times the family joked that we needed to put a GPS on her car so that we could keep track of her many spontaneous adventures. She loved road trips, any and all kinds of road trips; among her most favorite were trips to Oregon, the desert, and traveling east to visit family in Kansas and Missouri. During the last several years of her life she loved spending time in her RV in Morro Bay. It was the simple things in life she enjoyed most, such as just sitting in her car at Morro Bay Rock and watching the tide come in and out. She would often call, text, or send a pic just to let us know she was enjoying the view.
She is survived by her children, Peggy Canafax, Sherry (Steve) Smith, and Pamela (Randy) Burger, her Brother Harold (Melba) Staats, and 10 amazing grandchildren and 16 precious great grandchildren.
Betty was preceded in death by her husband Joe Lea Sr. and her son Joe (Butch) Lea Jr.
A private family memorial will be held at the Visalia District Cemetery. Arrangements by Smith Family Chapel, Exeter. Online condolences may be made at smithfamilychapel.com.