John Alonzo Smith, 98, made his peaceful transition to be with his wife, Rosemary, in heaven on Dec. 2, 2019. Born Sept. 24, 1921, in Winfield, the son of John Lon and Georganna (Robinson) Smith, he traveled extensively in the Midwest as his father was working in the oil fields. As a young boy in Western Kansas he handpicked corn and delivered water from horseback to the harvesters in the fields. In the seventh grade the family settled in Michigan and there he remained until he graduated in 1939 from West Branch Public High School.
Shortly after high school John joined the Army Air Corps in May 1941 with 15 cents in his pocket and proudly served his country in many capacities. He graduated from airplane maintenance school the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 6, 1941. After spending three winters in Alaska as part of the Lend-Lease program he was discharged as a Master Sergeant in November 1945 and made his way to Rose Poly College in Terre Haute, Ind. He graduated cum laude in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
John married the love of his life, Rosemary, June 14, 1952, and she gave him the best gift he said he could have ever imagined; his family. John’s love for Rosemary was so great that he joined the Catholic Church and had a Catholic wedding. While working full time at Western Electric, with the support of his loving wife Rosemary, John earned his Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Missouri in 1965. After 25 years with Western Electric, Rosemary and John retired to Bella Vista, Ark. He enjoyed long nature walks for fitness as a lifelong passion. As an avid golfer he played in five leagues. One of his proudest moments came Feb. 15, 1984, when he scored his first of many holes in one at Bella Vista’s Kingswood course on the seventh hole. He also loved ballroom dancing at the country club with Rosemary, and enjoyed long family visits, holiday celebrations, and taking the grandkids out on the golf cart to explore and play putt-putt. He will be missed by family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his sisters: Louise Smith and Lois (Smith) Smithley; and his wife of 59 years, Rosemary (Wiley) Smith. He leaves his son and caregiver, Daniel Smith; his two daughters: Rosanne Smith and Jill (Wilson) Smith; his granddaughters: Chantel Wilson and Michelle (Wilson) Delgado and husband David; his grandson, Alex Wilson; and two great grandsons: Wyatt and Cooper Delgado.
Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. with a rosary at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 6, 2019, at Bruce Funeral Home, 106 S. Center, Gardner, (913) 856-7111. A private family funeral service will occur on 10 a.m. Dec. 7, 2019 at the funeral home. Burial will occur at 11 a.m. with military honors at St. Columbia Catholic Cemetery. Condolences may be left at www.brucefuneralhome.com