Willis A. Smith, age 83 passed away February 15, 2019 at Sullivan County Memorial Hospital in Milan, Mo surrounded by his family.
Willis was born on November 23, 1935 in Scottsville, Missouri, one of seven children born to Raymond Joseph and Lula Mae (Fanning) Smith. He attended school through 8th grade at Clem Springs school. He married Mammie Pearl Almond on March 5, 1955 in Brookfield, Missouri. This union produced 5 boys. During this time, he owned several turkey hauling trucks and hauled turkeys for Stamper Foods. He then went to work for Banquet Foods (later became ConAgra) as maintenance supervisor and projects engineer. He worked for Banquet Foods/ ConAgra for 47 years until his retirement in 1999. Willis was a very hardworking man and role model for his family. Although he worked many hours, he has always had time for family. Sundays were spent having barbecues, fish fries and playing ball in the yard.
Willis lived in the Milan area all his life. He enjoyed playing cards with family and friends. Willis taught many grandchildren how to be great pitch players. He also loved to get out and cut some wood or mow the yard. While he lived in town you might catch him mowing every yard in the neighborhood or while in the country mowing the highway department’s right-a-way. You didn’t dare turn him loose in your timber unless you wanted every tree removed. Willis was an active member of the community. He was a charter member of the Elk’s Lodge and a member of the Jaycee’s. Willis was, also, a member of the White Oak cemetery board and worked to keep it going.
Willis was a dedicated and loving partner, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He is survived by his loving partner Janice Kay Rardon, her daughters and spouses Bob and Lesa Smith and Richard and Peggy Martin, and their children and grandchildren. Willis is also survived by four sons and daughter-in-laws, Cherie Smith of Milan, Frank (Bubby) Smith of Kirksville, Missouri, Raymond (Harpo) and Debbie Smith of Milan, Missouri, Kenny (Roy) Smith and Beth Smith of Kirksville, Missouri, and Wayne and Misty Smith of Milan; grandchildren Brandy and Perry Barnes, Wes and Jennifer Smith, Gingo Smith, Jericho Smith, Cegi Smith and Brian Trenter, Cody and Holly Smith, Laticia Smith, Jeremiah Smith, Mariah Smith, Dakota Weaver, Destiney Smith, Brody Smith, KC Smith; great-grandchildren Tori Barnes, Broc Smith, Greyson Smith, Trace Barnes, Kamy Trenter, Kylee Smith, Jaiven Smith, Jenna Smith, Farah Trenter, Brenna Smith, Alexis Smith, Autumn Smith, Jason Hoover, Dixie Helm, Kirstyn Helm, Karissa Helm and Zephaniah Clark; one sister Kathern and Donald Creason and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Willis was preceded in death by his parents Raymond and Lula Smith; his wife Mammie Pearl Almond; son Willis (Butch) Smith; granddaughter Hannah Smith; and siblings Edna Lee and Bill Head, Keith and Juanita Smith, Ellis (EC) Smith, Nina Kimmel, and Rick Smith.
Willis was a loving hard-working family man that enjoyed spending time with family and friends. He modeled what it was like to be a loving partner, father, and hard-working member of the community that always provided for his family. Willis will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
Funeral services for Willis will be 2:00 PM, Monday, February 18, 2019 at Schoene-Ruschmeier Funeral Home in Milan. Burial will follow at White Oak Cemetery, South of Milan. A visitation is scheduled for 6:00 to 8:00 PM, Sunday evening at the funeral home.
Memorial contributions are suggested to White Oak Cemetery.