December 10, 1919 - December 2, 2017
Arthur Monroe 'Smitty' Smith, 97, of Jansen, passed away December 2, 2017 in Fairbury. Arthur Monroe “Smitty” Smith was born December 10, 1919, in Plymouth, the oldest child of Harold and Lucinda (Unger) Smith. He was baptized on November 5, 1920, by Rev. G. Bode and confirmed on June 10, 1934, by Rev. W. Wilken at Trinity Lutheran Church, Jansen. His boyhood home was a farm south of Jansen.
After graduation from Fairbury High School in 1938, he enrolled at the Curtis Wright School of Flying in Lincoln later traveling to Columbus, Ohio, for employment. On November 11, 1942, he entered the United States Navy being assigned to 38 months in Hawaii. An honorable discharge was granted on January 17, 1946, as aviation metalsmith first class.
Returning to Jansen in February, 1946, he purchased a hardware store from P.M. Friesen which later became a furniture and appliance business. This purchase was the beginning of Smitty's Inc. which remained for the next 60 years. Art was among 14 servicemen who had returned from military duty to start their businesses in Jansen. Many of the early deliveries were made with a trailer attached to a 1941 Chevrolet.
On June 30, 1946, Art married Elnora Brott at Trinity Lutheran Church in Jansen, and to this union three children were born. Art was a life-time member of Trinity Lutheran Church, holding positions as elder and church chairman. He and Elnora were married 64 years. During their marriage, they traveled to numerous countries, enjoyed dancing, and were members of a pinochle card group.
Among his many involvements were the Jansen Legion (70 year member), Fairbury Elks Club, and Fairbury Country Club. He was an avid golfer until the age of 90. Over the past 15 years, he formed new friends at the Burkley Wellness Center and spent most every noon with the Senior Diners group. He will be remembered as a generous individual known for his love of conversation and storytelling which brought laughter and joy to his family, grandchildren, and many friends.
Survivors are his daughter Sharon (Jon) Dexter Lincoln, sons Randall (Linda) Smith Fairbury, and Jeffrey (Kathy) Smith, Jansen, six grandchildren: Bryan Dexter, Lori (Brent) Quinn, Bradley (Janelle) Dexter, Chantell (Heath) Koenig, Brenda (Chris) Placek and Catina (Ben Snyder) Smith, 12 great-grandchildren, brothers Gaylord Smith and Clarence Smith, sisters-in-law Mildred Brott and Dorothy Brott, along with lifetime friend, Carmon Wheatcraft and special friend, Evelyn Mahlin.
Art was preceded in death by his wife, Elnora in 2011, parents Harold and Lucinda Smith, brother Dale, and sister Bernice, sisters-in-law Dorothy Smith and Darlene Smith, niece Joyce Smith, and nephew Lowell Smith. His positive outlook on life will be missed by all who knew him.
Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, December 7, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Jansen, with Pastor Charles Schmidt officiating. The family will greet friends and relatives from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday evening at Gerdes-Meyer Funeral Home. Memorials will go to the family's choice. Burial will be in the Fairbury Cemetery. Arrangements: Gerdes-Meyer Funeral Home.