American Patriotic 10

Edward L. "Von" Smith

March 20, 2023


Edward Lavon "Von" Smith passed away peacefully, into the arms of his Lord and Savior, on March 13, 2023. 

Von was born January 16, 1929, in Altamont, Illinois, the fifth and youngest child of Henry and Pearl Smith.  It was in this small town that Von found his love of farming, horses, hunting, music and especially basketball.  He graduated from Altamont High School in 1947, where he was a member of their Championship basketball team.  That summer, while visiting his sister and brother-in-law, Verna and Doc Byland, Von became fast friends with Bob Richardson.  Bob drafted Von to play on his town softball team, and during a game Von was introduced to Moberly Jr. College coach Maurice John.  Hearing of his basketball history in Illinois, Coach Johns asked Von to try out for the MJC basketball team.  Von Smith became the first out-of-state recruit for the Greyhounds, playing as starting forward.  Von was co-captain, with his team winning both state and conference championships, and playing in the National Tournament in Springfield, MO.  The Greyhounds ended that two-year record with 53 wins and only 9 losses.  It was during this time that he met the love of his life, Ms. Katie Shumate, who was his biggest fan.  Von graduated from Moberly Jr. College in 1949. 

In1950 the two were married and started their life together with Von working for the Wabash as a telegrapher.  Their marriage was one that included lots of friends, travel and great happiness.  In 1952 Von was drafted into the Navy, and because of his telegraphy knowledge, served as a communication Technician, intercepting enemy transmissions, during the Korean War, spending eighteen months of that time in the south pacific, on Guam.  Von was honorably discharged in 1954, coming home to his wife and first daughter, Susan Kay.  Once home, Von continued working for the Norfolk and Southern for 38 years, as a telegrapher, Dispatcher and retired as Chief Clerk to the Superintendent. 

Von Smith was a long time member of Trinity United Methodist Church serving as a choir member for over 50 years.  In his spare time he delivered meals on wheels for the Moberly Senior Center and was a long-time member, past president of the Moberly Lions club.

Von loved playing the piano (taught by his mother), singing in the choir and singing bass in several quartets, and dancing to Big Band era music.  He hunted, farmed, loved to ride his beautiful Tennessee Walking horse - Buck, raised a huge garden every year with Katie, played golf, basketball, and loved nature. 

While he always wanted a boy to share his hobbies with, Von and Katie had four daughters, who were raised on their small farm.  They grew up raising cattle, riding horses, working the garden, climbing in the tree house, bucking hay, and everything else the twelve acres provided.  They all loved sports, music, and nature because of their dad, who will forever be their hero.

In 1993 Von’s wife of 43 years passed away after a long fight with cancer.  Heart broken, he continued on in life, growing closer with his daughters.  Eventually, he met a wonderful lady who became his new dancing partner, Linda Reynolds.  Together for 25 years, they enjoyed a great companionship traveling, dancing, singing and attending events in the community.  

Von Smith was preceded in death by his wife, Katie Smith; eldest daughter Susan and her husband Tom Solomon; parents Henry and Pearl Smith; in-laws Lawrence and Elizabeth Shumate; brothers Howard and wife Shirley Smith, Bill Smith; his sisters Verna and Conrad Byland, and Virginia and Royce Majors; brother-in-law Robert Shumate.

Surviving are daughters: Kathy and husband Matt Winkel of Wilmington, NC; Janet and husband Tom Fannin of Moberly, MO; and Patty and husband Dave Miller of Moberly, MO; and his companion Linda Reynolds of Moberly, MO.  Also surviving are eleven grandchildren, twenty great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren; many nieces and nephews.

Von Smith loved his family, his church and his friends and will be greatly missed by all. 

A funeral service and Celebration of Von’s life was held at the  Trinity United Methodist Church.   Committal services, prayer and Military Honors, were held at the Missouri State Veterans Cemetery. 

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