"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
Ronald (Ron, Ronnie) Eugene Smith passed from this earth into the presence of his Lord and Saviour on April 29, 2020, in St. Paul, Minnesota at the age of 81.
Ron is survived by Sisters: Doris Sink of Auburn, IN; Sally Weber of Newton, IL; Sandy Brandt of Olney, IL; Diana Hufford of Acworth, GA. Brothers-in-law/Sisters-in-law: Jim Weber of Newton, IL; Bob Miller of Newton, IL; Fred Brandt of Olney, IL; Karen Smith of Olney, IL. Children: Randy (JoAnne) Smith of Nayoro, Japan; Lori (Kerry) Watkins of Toledo, OH; Jackie (Rick) Kielb of Perryton, TX; Roger (Heather) Smith of Burnsville, MN. 18 Grandchildren: Preston (Abi), Rachel, Emilie (Nick), Ann (James), Katie, Kristen, Amanda (Daryn), Andrew, Jared, Megan, Melissa, Abby (Curt), Britney (Jake), Cortney, Alaina (Arick), Kara, Katelyn, Vivionna. 9 Great-grandchildren: Elsie, Phebe, Jimmy, Willow, Josiah, Alyssa, Kaydence, Brock, Aiden. 22 Nephews and Nieces.
Ron was preceded in death by his wife of 47 years, Sandra (Bever) Smith; his parents, Orien and Evelyn Smith (Doty); stepfather, Clarence Doty; siblings, Suzanne Sink, Roger “Buddy” Smith, James Smith, Mary Ann Miller, Ermal Smith, Larry Smith, Norman Smith, Keith Smith; brothers-in-law, Howard Sink, Bob Hufford.
Ron was born on July 18, 1938, in a house in the country, outside of Olney, IL. He attended one-room schoolhouses (Shady Grove, Birds School); elementary school in Dundas, IL and Calhoun, IL; central school in Olney, IL; and in 1955 he graduated from East Richland High School in Olney, IL. In September, 1957, Ron completed a two-year associate degree program in Radio/Television Technology at Southern Illinois University Vocational Institute in Carbondale, IL. He married his sweetheart, Sandra Elaine Bever, on February 15, 1958. Ron worked for Kowa Electric Co. in Olney, IL, installing TV and radio antenna towers. In April, 1962, he was hired by International Business Machines (IBM), and he worked in Evansville, IN as a Field Engineer, and Rochester, MN as a computer design Project Engineer, until his retirement in 1992. Later, Ron and Sandra lived in Denver, CO; LeRoy, MN; and Venice, FL. Ron spent a period of time with loved ones in Waterloo, IA, Olney and Newton, IL, before moving back to MN, where he resided at an elder care facility in the city of St. Paul.
Ron and Sandra welcomed four children into their home. His children remember him as a loving, caring husband and father, and a godly Christian man that loved the Lord Jesus Christ. In a journal entry, Ron wrote that on a Monday morning in the late 1950’s, he was led to faith in Christ by Pastor Lowell Earnhart, after hearing a sermon by him the previous day. Ron’s faith in God’s Word guided his life, was instrumental in all of his children coming to faith in Christ, and left its mark on the lives of so many others.
Ron loved music and enjoyed both singing and playing guitar. Other hobbies were photography, videotaping, and fishing. He was an active and faithful member of Congregational Christian Church (Olney, IL), Mill Road Baptist Church (Evansville, IN), Calvary Baptist Church (Rochester, MN), Calvary Community Baptist Church (Northglenn, CO), Beth Eden Baptist Church (Wheat Ridge, CO), Faith Baptist Church (Cresco, IA), Calvary Baptist Church (Englewood, FL), and Scott Avenue Christian Church (Newton, IL). Over the years, Ron served as a deacon, choir member, Sunday School superintendent/teacher, sound booth technician, and camp counselor.
If Ron could tell you one thing today, he’d want you to know that he is rejoicing in Heaven right now, because at one point in his life he placed his faith in Christ’s death and resurrection as the all-sufficient payment for his sin, so that he could receive the free gift of eternal life in Heaven. One of Ron’s favorite Bible passages was: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Ron would desire nothing more than for each of you to have that same hope. He is now completely healed and in his eternal home with Jesus Christ, his Saviour and Lord. Ron would simply say of his life: “To God be the glory!”
A private graveside service will be held at the Farley-Bethel Cemetery in Yale, IL. Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, alternative plans for a future tribute to Ron’s life and legacy are underway. Ron desired that the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ be spread to the ends of the earth, and his children all agree that Ron would want any monetary gifts to be used in this way. In lieu of flowers (The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. [Isaiah 40:8]), monetary gifts will be collected and equally distributed to Ron’s children. Each of the four families will place their portion in an envelope, and as a family will pray, asking for God’s guidance for the use of these funds, in their entirety, for the spread of the gospel throughout the world, and as a lasting tribute to Ron’s life.
Memorial donations for the Ron Smith family gospel project may be sent two ways:
1.Use the “Giving: Memorial Fund” option on Ron’s memorial site: https://www.gatheringus.com/memorial/ronald-smith/3389
2.Sending a check payable to Roger Smith (noting) “Ronald Smith Memorial” in the memo), and mail to: Roger Smith, 212 Burncrest Ct., Burnsville, MN 55337
Thank you for any part you wish to have in this tribute