Russell L. Smith Feb. 16, 1920 - Sept. 20, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Russell L. Smith, age 89, of Storm Lake, died Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009 at the Buena Vista Regional Medical Center in Storm Lake.

Funeral services were held on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009 at the Storm Lake United Methodist Church. Burial was in the Buena Vista Memorial Park Cemetery with military honors by the Alta VFW. The Fratzke & Jensen Funeral Home in Storm Lake was in charge of the arrangements.

Russell LeRoy Smith, son of Clarence and Susie Belle (Harris) Smith was born Feb. 16, 1920 in Paulina. He was baptized and confirmed into the Christian faith at the Methodist Church in Paulina. He attended grade school in Paulina and graduated from Paulina High School in 1939. While in high school, he sang with the Boys choir at the Iowa State Fair.

Russell served his country in the United States Army during World War II. He was inducted on July 7, 1942 and became active July 21, 1942. Russell received two Purple Hearts and one Bronze Star; he was honorably discharged on Sept. 26, 1945.

On Dec. 5, 1942, Russell was united in marriage to Frances P. Birlingmair in the Central Christian Church in Elgin, Texas. Russell and Frances were married for 64 years. The couple was blessed with eight children: Rosemary, Karen, Alice, Marian, James, Susan, Kevin and Lori.

Russell was a lifelong member of the Methodist Church and a longtime member of the United Methodist Church in Storm Lake. He was the President of the Epworth League. Russell belonged to the Golden K Kiwanis and was a member of the Alta VFW Post #6172. Russell worked as a farmhand after the military and then in sales with Linde Implement working in the dairy industry. He later worked at Hy-Grade before owning Smitty's Locksmith and Sharpening.

Russell had a passion for woodworking, crafts and raising Chinchillas. He enjoyed camping and traveling south in the winters. He loved playing cards and dancing with Frances.

Left to cherish his memory are his children: Rosemary (Howard) Henson of Storm Lake; Karen (Leonard) Koch of South Sioux City, Neb.; Alice (Wayne) Wallace of St. Peters, Mo.; Marian (Harvey) Buckendahl of Storm Lake; James (Michelle) Smith of LeMars; Susan (Michael) Gibbins of Olathe, Kan.; Kevin (Sandy) Smith of Oelwein; and Lori (Scott) Watts of Lawton; 24 grandchildren; 51 great-grandchildren; 10 great-great-grandchildren; his special companion, Buddy, Boston Terrier; one brother, Clarence Smith of Hartley; sisters: Lucille Sullivan of Omaha, Neb.; Erma Sheley of Boston, Mass.; Arlene Lamont of Meridan; Maurene Johnson of Belmond; and Ione (Arnold) Kehoe of Magnolia, Texas; one brother-in-law; numerous sisters-in-law; extended family and friends.

Russell was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Frances; two sisters, Ruth McPherson and Ellen Rohwer.