Gerald "Mark" Smith

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

December 28, 1951 -- May 4, 2014

I finally left Nevada, Mo., today. I never thought I would. I'm with my Mom and Dad now, and Dad and I are going crappie fishing. He said they have the biggest crappie here and we're going to catch some.

Let me tell you my story. I was born in Nevada on Friday, Dec. 28, 1951. As I was a Friday's child, my mom always told me that I was loving and giving. I wasn't going to argue with her because nobody argued with my mom. My parents were Gerald and Theresa Fritz Smith and we lived on North Cedar. I was the fourth of seven children. My siblings are sisters, Terry Gatewood, and her husband, Jim, from Columbia, Mo., Cheryl Spittle, and her husband, Fred, from Lancaster, Pa., Veronica Anderson and her husband, Stan, from Irving, Texas, and the youngest sister, Denise Prokop, and her husband, Joe, from St. Joseph, Mo. My two brothers, are Mike Smith, of Nevada, and Jim and his wife, Cheryl, of Nevada.

I married the love of my life, Debbie Simpson, on Oct. 18, 2008. She was a magnificent woman. I had hoped and prayed for more years with her, but it wasn't meant to be. I am so grateful for the love and care she has given me through our years together. The last three years were tough, but she never waivered in her devotion to me. I am overwhelmed with love for her.

I was blessed with the three brightest stars that were my kids. From the day all of you were born, my life was yours. I tried my hardest to make sure all of you knew that your life, well-being and happiness were my most abiding thought. My oldest son, Chris Smith, from Lee's Summit, started me in the joys of parenthood. From the first moment I held you, my heart was yours. My beautiful daughter, Erin Ketterman, who is married to Matt and lives in Nevada, is my second child. I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of you as you've grown into such a wonderful, caring woman and mother. My youngest son is Andy Smith, who is married to Megan Wynn and resides in Nevada. Andy, you were my gentle soul, the one who always seem to feel the ups and downs of life the most. Please know I have not really left you, I am in your heart forever. I hope all of you remember me with love and joy in your hearts as you continue in your life's journey. I will be with you always.

When I married Debbie, I was blessed with two more sons. Eric Mather, along with his wife, Tiffani, who reside in Nevada. And Rodney Mather with his wife, Amie, who also live in Nevada. I'm counting on you two boys to help your mom. I've been so blessed to have you as a part of my family. Thank you for making me so welcome in yours.

I was lucky enough to be a grandpa 11 times. How blessed can one man be. It was my most favorite name ever. I will forever cherish my time with them. They are Jack and Emma Smith, of Lee's Summit, Mo., Lane, Tyler and Drake Ketterman, of Nevada, Aidan and Hudson Smith, of Nevada, and Rayden, Ryan, Ashley, and Haley Mather, of Nevada.

There were more blessings in my life which included cousins, nieces and nephews too numerous to mention. I am so grateful all of you were a part of my life.

For those of you that don't know, I attended St. Mary's Catholic School here in Nevada, graduating in eighth grade. During my early elementary years, I was one of the hardest working paperboys the Nevada Daily Mail ever had. I started at 9 years old and didn't leave that job for 6 years. That was in the day, no matter rain nor shine, nor sleet nor snow, I was out there on my bike and your paper was delivered on your porch every day, but Saturday.

I attended Nevada High School with graduation in May of 1970. After graduation from high school, I started on the rest of my life. My first job as an adult was with Bellest Hess. From there, I was at Crane, then Central States Press. My last years of employment were with 3M. I retired from there after 34 years of service.

I want to take a moment to say thank you to some people whose path has crossed mine for the better: Bob Burns, Jack Burns, Mike Beeman, Dan Dilly, Sam and Vivian Morgan, Donna Moore, Cedar County -- Patti Ross, Roll Boy, Darrel Ast, Ron Brewer, Darrel Morgan, my catfishing friend, the Boys at Budweiser, Don Hutchinson, Andy and Debbie Anderson, Kenny Westcoat, Kate Long -- post 3M supervisor, Carol and the late J.J. Farley, the Schuster Family, and my extended family which are all the boys who hung out at my house with Chris and Andy.

Also, heartfelt thanks to the Cleveland Clinic, who gave me extended life with my lung transplant, and the numerous hospitals, doctors and caregivers who helped. If not for all of you, I would not have been blessed with the last 2 and 1/2 years. I am so grateful.

Funeral services will be held at 2:30 p.m., Thursday, May 8, at Ferry Funeral Home, in Nevada, with Dr. William Cox officiating. Family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, May 7. I want everyone who comes to be prepared to celebrate my life because life is a celebration, and I had a good one. I thank all of you for being a part of mine. When you come to my celebration of life, I'll be watching. Bright colors are the order of the day, preferably Hawaiian.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Elk's Christmas Baskets or the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation in care of Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada.

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Written by Veronica Anderson (sister).