Donald J. Smith, 92

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Donald James Smith, son of Lewis and Eva Smith, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on May 10, 2023.
Donald was born October 11, 1930 on a farm seven miles south of Cawker City, Kansas. He attended the Hazeltine School until he moved north of Glen Elder with his family in 1943. He graduated 8th grade from Rose Valley School and soon after went to work for the Timbers Ranch, and also helped his uncle Joe Grady until he began working for Lutz Brothers in Beloit, which later became known as Holloway Wholesale, until he enlisted in the United States Navy in December of 1950. He spent 43 months and 10 days at sea on the USS Currier, which was a destroyer escort. While in the Navy, he traveled from the west coast to Japan, stopping in Hong Kong, Tachai, and Formosa. Three months of his third tour was spent at Pearl Harbor. He was discharged on November 19, 1954 as a gunner's mate third class. He then went to work for Gene Randall of the Greyhound Hall of Fame, training grey hounds in Phoenix, Arizona, West Memphis, Arkansas, and Opa Locka, Florida.
After returning from Arizona, he met the woman who would become his bride of 61 years, Shirley Ann Hancock. They were married on August 2, 1958. To this union, they were blessed with three children, Jeffrey Don, Jennifer Jo, and Janet Sue. They lived four miles south and a ¼ mile west of Cawker City on the Florence and John Thull place until August of 1966, which is when construction of the Glen Elder Dam began. They purchased the Francis Fox farm two miles north of Glen Elder, which is where Jake still resides. They lived there until the early 1970's, when the opportunity arose to farm more land three miles north of Cawker City, where they resided until they built their new home just outside of the city limits on the west edge of Cawker City, where they lived for over 39 years until retiring and moving back to Shirley's hometown of Mankato, Kansas, until her death in 2019.
In July of 2019, he and his son, Jeff moved back to Cawker City, residing together until Jeff's sudden death in 2020. Soon after, he moved to the Downs Care and Rehab Center until his death.
Don's four brothers, Harold, Richard, Kenneth and Bob, and his three sisters, Nora, Donna Lee and Alice, were an important and steady part of his life. The weekend at Grandpa Lewis' playing pitch and pinochle games, and quality time spent with his siblings and their spouses was a top priority. His passion was for farming, in which he did for well over 50 years. Don loved following his kids, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in their school activities and sports. He would always be there and support them with a smile on his face.
Don served on the Vo-Tech board of education and the USD 272 board of education. He was a member of the American Legion Post #379 for over 50 years, a member of the VFW, and a lifelong member of the Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Shirley; his son, Jeff; brothers, Harold, Richard, and Kenneth; sister, Donna Lee; and his granddaughter, Whitney Chriestenson.
He is survived by his children, Jennifer Chriestenson (Steve) and Janet Cochran (Ray); sisters, Nora Peters and Alice Brownell; brother, Bob Smith; his loving grandchildren, Jake Smith, Krista Pilcher, Dustin Chriestenson, Blake Regnier, Chassidy Chriestenson, Jessica Gilbert, Jordan Flower, and Jaden Flower; 11 great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; and two bonus children, Missy Greiken and Shelbi Ricks.
He will be missed greatly, and thought of often. May his soul rest in peace. We will miss you so much.
Funeral services will be at 10 AM Wednesday, May 17, at the Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Cawker City.
A rosary service will be at 7 PM and visitation will be from 5 PM until the rosary service on Tuesday at the Church.
Memorials may be given to the Morrison House or the Cawker City American Legion Post #379.
Roberts Family Funeral Service is in charge of arrangements.
Condolences may be left at www.robertsfamilyfs.com

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Beloit, KS 67420, USA