Donald Smith
Donald Smith
Donald Smith

Obituary of Donald Ray Smith

Donald Ray Smith was born along with his twin sister, Dorothy, on February 15, 1924 to Effie and Harry Smith in Elmira, Missouri in a “cold coal” shack. Later Don grew up in Excelsior Springs, Missouri with his 2 brothers and 3 sisters at 610 Isley. Just this week he said he wanted to see his Mother and Father at the house on Isley. Don joined the United States Navy on St. Patrick’s Day 1942, shortly after turning 18 years old. He traveled by train to the San Diego Naval Training Center in California for boot camp. He loved the Navy from the first day, recalling how nice everyone was, and how the food was so good. He was proud to be serving his country. Don attended gunners mate training before heading for his first ship to begin his sea duty with the US Pacific fleet. Don served aboard two ships during World War II: the USS Salt Lake City and the USS Reno. While serving aboard the USS Salt Lake City in defense of the Aleutian Islands, the ship was attacked by the Japanese Navy, and some of Don’s friends lost their lives. While aboard the USS Reno, the cruiser participated in the battle of the Philippine Sea, where the USS Reno aided in repelling a large scale Japanese Navy air craft carrier task force to defend Quam, Saipan, and the Tinian Islands. During the battle, Don’s ship was torpedoed by the Japanese Navy and was partially under water. The USS Princeton came alongside the USS Reno, putting cables under the ship to keep the ship from sinking. Then the USS Princeton was able to tow the USS Reno to port. Don spoke of losing many friends during this battle also. He never forgot his Navy friends and that made his faith stronger. He always loved the Navy and all Veterans who served in defense of our country. Following honorable discharge from the Navy, Don returned to complete his high school requirements at Excelsior Springs High School and at William Jewell College. Don married Jo Ann Irons within weeks of graduation from high school. She preceded him in death in September 1985. Don is survived by four loving sons from his first marriage: Roger Smith (Mona), Steve Smith (Sara), Greg Smith (Vicki), and Brian Smith (M. Moynihan). Following World War II, Don joined the Olathe Naval Air Reserve. Don worked at the Missouri Highway Patrol and General Motors. After his employment at General Motors, he said “he would never work at an automobile plant again!” He then moved to California to work for Boeing Aircraft Company. Finally, he moved back to Missouri with his wife and 4 sons where he worked for 25 years at Ford Motor Company in Claycomo until he retired. In December 1993, Don married his music-love and best friend, Marcia Claire. He is survived by Marcia Claire, his wife, and three loving step-daughters: Heather Etten, Robin (Rob) Fauske, Laura (Scott) Cheever. Don’s greatest joy was his love of Jesus Christ and his family, including 16 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren whom he loved and adored. His grandchildren include: Laura A, Brandon S, Kristopher (Jessica), Marie (Brian), Megan (TJ) Ryan S., Jame, Ashley, Taylor, Brooke, Brandon L, Grace, Bella, Makenzie, Myles and Vincent. His great grandchildren include: Carter, Brooklyn, Owen, Brianna, Jack, Karmyn, Eljiah, Jullian, and Ava. Don is preceded in death by his parents whom he talked about often, his twin sister, Dorothy; his sisters, Doris Lane and Gerri; and his brother, Bud (Francis). Don is survived by his brother, Dick (Cathy), and numerous nieces and nephews. Don and Marcia Claire played music frequently together in Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa: Silver Dollar City for 10 years; hymns in many churches; 1850 dance music at historic sites and state parks; and Civil War Music at Re-Enactments. Don was the greatest fan of Marcia’s students, always lifting them up with enthusiasm and encouragement, and attending programs until he was unable to do so. Most recently on September 4, 2021, Don and Marcia played fiddle music on the porch of the Missouri Veterans Home at Cape Girardeau, MO. The next day, on Sunday, September 5th, Don and Marcia shared their love of hymns in the Chapel at the Missouri Veterans Home at Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Minutes following their hymn-sing, they were told that Don needed to go to the ER at St. Francis Hospital because he had been diagnosed with a blood infection. After a very tough and courageous battle, Don went to be with his Lord on September 9, 2021 at St. Francis Hospital. He loved to play the piano, accordion, and the bass. Over the years, Don, Marcia Claire, Greg, and Roger had great times playing music together in the kitchen at home. Don was an active member at church where he loved Scripture and hymns. He loved the Lord and his family with all his heart. He taught honesty and kindness by the example of his life. One of his favorite activities that he enjoyed was riding in the car with his Marcia Claire when they traveled often to support family and friends. They were the support team for Robin when she was an Army Nurse in Iraq, at Fort Sam Houston, Texas and at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri for 8 years combined. Don had an amazing ability with wood working, playing the piano by ear, singing, and computer work. He was an avid horse and buggy fan, often restoring and building buggies, carriages, and sleighs. He loved to give rides, and on numerous occasions, he would give rides to the President of William Jewell College around the quad at Christmas; to visitors at Watkins Mill Woolen Mill; and to the public on many occasions, including the Richmond Mushroom Festival. For many years, Don was very active and a pillar in the Lawson VFW, Post 6278, filling positions, such as, Post Commander and District Commander. The family requests that contributions, in lieu of flowers, be made to the Missouri Veterans Home at 1111 Euclid, Cameron, Missouri 64429. Don has been on the waiting list at Cameron since April. Visitation will be held on Saturday, September 18, at 10:00 followed by the Funeral at 11:00 at the Hidden Valley (Wood Heights) Funeral Home of Excelsior Springs . A Graveside Service will held immediately following the funeral service. Burial will be at Richmond Memorial Memory Gardens, Richmond, MO. We want to thank you for your love and prayers.
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Saturday
18
September

Visitation

10:00 am - 11:00 am
Saturday, September 18, 2021
Hidden Valley Funeral Home of Excelsior Springs
5951 Highway 10
Excelsior Springs, Missouri, United States
816-637-3000
Saturday
18
September

Funeral Service

11:00 am
Saturday, September 18, 2021
Hidden Valley Funeral Home of Excelsior Springs
5951 Highway 10
Excelsior Springs, Missouri, United States
816-637-3000
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