Leila K Arnett

June 17, 1917November 21, 2011

Leila Katherine Routh Arnett died November 21, 2011 at 94. She was born June 17, 1917 in Dallas, Texas. She was the beloved wife of the late Walter Wendell Arnett. She was the adored and loving mother of her son John Arnett (Carolyn) and daughters Mary Lou Wright (Regan) and Elaine Routh Smith (Bob); seven grandchildren: Anne-Britton Arnett (Robert Ransdell), David Arnett (Stacy Fox), Hunter Wright, Darren Wright (Vanessa Hacker), Kate Boardman, Matthew Boardman, Peter Boardman, Ted Smith, Evan Smith, and Molly Smith. She was the great grandmother of Morgan Flecke, Logan Flecke, and Evan Wright.

She was the youngest of six children born to Eugene Coke Routh and Mary Mildred Wroe Routh. Her mother died when she was eight, and E.C. married Alice Routh. Leila graduated from Classen High School, Oklahoma City in 1934, attended Oklahoma Baptist University 1934-35 where she was selected as Freshman Queen, and graduated from Mary Hardin Baylor College, Belton, Texas in 1937. She then moved to Nashville where she worked as a secretary for the Baptist Sunday School Board. In 1939 she married Walter Wendell Arnett, her partner for 59 years. They lived in Nashville, TN, and Baltimore, MD, until after WWII when they moved to Louisville in 1945. Wendell worked 33 years as an artist for the Courier-Journal and The Louisville Times, and died July 10, 1998 at age 86.

Leila and Wendell were lifelong members of Crescent Hill Baptist Church where she served for many decades in the nursery, and enjoyed wonderful friendships especially with members of the Agape Sunday School Class. While living in Nashville she sang in a trio with lifelong friends Gerry Smith (d.2010) and Mary Sue Gulbenk (d.1993); in her later years she enjoyed participating with her church’s “Singing Seniors.” After spending many years typing dissertations and theses for hundreds of seminary students, she taught English and other subjects in the Jefferson County Public Schools until her retirement from Southern Middle School in 1984. In that same year she and Wendell were able to travel to the British Isles where she visited her ancestral Routh home. She was active with the John Marshall Chapter of the DAR, Crescent Hill Women’s Club, and Friendship International. She remained in her Crescent Hill home until July 2010 when she moved to Jefferson Place.

Leila was the last living child of hers and Wendell’s parents: Her sisters Lucile Routh Burnett (Clinton) and Elizabeth Routh Pool (Christie) died in 1990 and 2000, and brothers Copass Routh (Loretta), Ross Routh (Fay), and Porter Routh (Ruth) died in 1987. Her first cousins B.B.Jr (Betsy) and Eugene McKinney (Treysa), sons of her aunt Leila Routh McKinney and uncle B.B. McKinney (Baptist hymn composer,) died in 1988 and 2010. Niece Frances and nephew Cope, Jr died in 2000 and 2011. Her sisters-in-law Helen Arnett Donaldson (Don), Ruth Arnett Schoppe (CV), and Bernice died in 1987, 1992, and 1941, and brothers-in-law Oakley Arnett (Gracie) and Paul Arnett (Ruth) died in 1978 and 1987.

Leila enjoyed keeping up with all her relatives and friends over the years and, until a few months before her death, was an avid letter writer. She was a person of great love, warmth, and endless generosity who cared deeply for her family and friends.

On her side of the family she is survived by nieces and nephews: Gene Burnett; Rob Routh (Pat) and children (June, Robin, Todd, Clay), Donald Routh (Marge) and daughter (Lauri), Alan Routh (Rung) and children (Christopher, Nicholas, Jonathan, Alexandra), Jon Routh (Biviana) and children (Sophia, Dax, Xan); Frances’ children (Bobby, Keith, Gene, Kathy), Carolyn Pool and children (Richard, Margaret, Susan, Brenda, Lilly), Jim Pool and son (Jim); Charles Routh (Susan) and children (Rachel, Casey), Betsy Routh Green and children (Charles, Laura, Andrew), Dorothy Routh (Jack) and children (Cai, Neils), Susan Routh, Lelia Routh Cothen (Grady) and children (Will, Elizabeth); Copass Routh, Jr.’s (Mary Ann) children (Melissa, Lori, Melanie), and Michael Routh (Arita) and children (Megan, Brian, Keri); and a cousin, Virginia Bennett Cobb.

On Wendell’s side of the family she is survived by nieces and nephews: Gene Donaldson, Alvin Arnett’s children (Paul Dewey, Julianna, and Amelia), Barbara Samuels (Maurice) and children (Tammy and Stephanie), Diane’s children (Heather and Britton), Martha Zukosky (Ben) and children (Matthew and Steven), Charles Arnett and children (Abbie, Walter, Sam), and Jimmy Arnett (Mary) and children (Teddy, Victoria).

The funeral service will be in the chapel of Crescent Hill Baptist Church,2800 Frankfort Avenue, Saturday, November 26 at 11:00am and visitation at Arch L. Heady-Cralle Funeral Home 2428 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY 40206, Friday, Nov. 25, from 4 – 8pm. In lieu of flowers gifts may be given to the memorial fund of Crescent Hill Baptist Church.


  • Funeral Service Saturday, November 26, 2011
  • Visitation Friday, November 25, 2011

Leila K Arnett

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Pat Pergrem Thompson

March 12, 2012

To John, Mary Louise and Elaine,
Sincere condolences for the loss of your mother who, along with your father, was a dear, dear friend of my parents. Love to you all.

Annie Hammon

November 22, 2011

I am saddened by the death of this wonderful woman many will call a saint, but whom I was fortunate enough to call a friend. She was always so kind to me, and my missionary parents. I thought she was just one of the most wonderful women/people I've ever known. My condolences to her family and friends, and pleasure at the thought of certain Reunion. With love, Annie Hammon