Tribute for Leah Arrasmith (September 22, 1997 - January 29, 2018)

In a journal entry on November 21, 2017, I wrote, “I feel like I’m the happiest I have ever been.” This moment of gratefulness could’ve been because Thanksgiving was coming up, one of my friends recently got engaged, or because I enjoyed watching my corgi puppy grow up. However, in retrospect, I know my happiness was due to my good friend, Leah Arrasmith.

Leah was born in Wichita, Kansas on September 22, 1997. Her mother, Richelle, works as a nurse and her father, Mark, is currently a math instructor at Wichita State University. She has two brothers, Luke and Jonah. She also has a dog that she loved talking about, a Shiba Inu named Emi. She swam on the Swim Newton competitive swim team and graduated from Hesston High in 2016. Pursuing a major in Business, she came to King’s in the fall of 2016 and was placed in the House of Corrie ten Boom. She also worked as Professor Dawn Fotopulos’ Faculty Assistant. Fotopulos said Leah was “an incredible young woman” in my first Principles of Management Organization class, and she was right.

My friendship with Leah began during her freshman year at King’s when I chose her to be my Little. When the time came for Bigs to choose their Littles, I knew mine had to be Leah, but I wasn’t exactly sure why. We had talked a few times and I thought she was really cool, but I had the overwhelming feeling that she absolutely had to be my Little and there was no other option. I had never experienced a feeling like this before, but I think that was God telling me I needed to be in her life, and she needed to be in mine.

She was a great friend, an exceptional student, and an overall incredible person. She was very loved and is greatly missed.

I went over-the-top with the Big gift (before it was revealed that it was me) and carved her name into a pumpkin and left it on her doorstep. It might’ve freaked her out, but I wanted her to know I was serious. In pursuit of being a good Big and getting to know her better, I did things like buying her gifts (corgi socks and a fish named Gilbert) and helping her get a job at the doggie daycare I work at called Ciao Bow Wow. What I loved most was when we would sit on my couch and I would listen to her rattle off facts about ancient dog breeds, or the significance of “supper” or whatever she felt like talking about. I loved listening to her.

I also befriended her roommate and best friend, Alexa Scull. The two of them and my roommates, Laura Paradis, Kelly Jarboe and my corgi Kipper formed a tight-knit friend group. Our Friday nights typically called for onion rings and cuddling with Kipper.

One of the last things I said to Leah was that she was gorgeous, and as her and Alexa were leaving my apartment, I told her that Kipper loved her. I told her this all the time, and I think she knew that whenever I said it, I really meant that I loved her. I told her every chance I got.

Leah passed away on January 29, 2018. She was a great friend, an exceptional student, and an overall incredible person. She was very loved and is greatly missed. I am beyond grateful for the friendship we shared and I can only hope it made her feel as happy as I did on November 21, 2017.