Kenneth "Ken" Russell Smith

February 26, 1934June 2, 2019

Kenneth Russell Smith, age 85, passed away on Sunday, June 2, 2019 at Bethany Life in Story City, Iowa. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at Stevens Memorial Chapel (607 28th St., Ames, Iowa 50010). A private burial will take place at a later date in the Ames Municipal Cemetery.

Ken was born on February 26, 1934 in Vermillion, South Dakota to Russell and Margaret (Sherk) Smith. He grew up in Vermillion, graduating from Yankton High School. Following graduation he joined the Army. Following his time in the Military, he met and married the love of his life Roberta Smith in 1957.

Ken worked as a carpenter for James Thompson and Sons, before starting his employment with Iowa State University. Ken was a longtime member of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Ames. Ken enjoyed hunting, fishing for Perch, Blue Gill, and Bullheads on Big Creek, Little Wall, and Ada Hayden, always the carpenter, Ken enjoyed woodworking, as well as spending time in his garden.

Ken was preceded in death by his wife; Roberta Smith, his son; Robert Smith, as well as his parents; Russell and Margaret.

Ken is survived by his sons; Bruce (Julie) Smith of Scottsdale, AZ, and Brian (Cathy) Smith of Boone, IA, daughters; Glenda (Duane) Zavadil of Sedalia, CO, Margo (Scott) Cragle of Allen, TX, 11 grandkids, and 5 great-grandkids, along with his close friend Mary Isely.

Memorial contributions may be made in Ken’s name to St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church (2210 Lincoln Way, Ames, IA 50014).


  • Russell Smith, Father
  • Margaret Smith, Mother
  • Roberta Smith, Wife
  • Robert Smith, Son
  • Bruce Smith, Son
  • Julie Smith, Daughter-in-law
  • Brian Smith, Son
  • Cathy Smith, Daughter-in-law
  • Glenda Zavadil, Daughter
  • Duane Zavadil, Son-in-law
  • Margo Cragle, Daughter
  • Scott Cragle, Son-in-law
  • Mary Isely, Friend
  • 11 Grandkids and 5 Great-Grandkids


  • Memorial Service Wednesday, June 5, 2019


Kenneth "Ken" Russell Smith

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Teresa Alto

June 16, 2019

To the family of Ken Smith from Mary Isely's daughter, Teresa Alto, and my husband, Aaron: Ken was a wonderful, warm, and funny presence in my mom's life and all of our lives this past decade or so. He was always ready to lighten a moment with a joke and a chuckle. I will never forget his grins while catching bluegill after bluegill in a spot on our bay of Pokegama Lake outside Grand Rapids, Minnesota. I am grateful for all the trips he took my mom on and his warm and steady presence in her life. I am sorry for your loss but happy that he had a life filled with your love and the care he gave others.

Karen Kniss

June 8, 2019

Dear Glenda, Brian, Margo and Bruce, so sorry for the loss of your father! Karen Kniss

Mary Zimmerman

June 5, 2019

Ken was such a good-natured, fun person at Bickford. Seeing and interacting with him always brightened my day. He was a "spark" in the room....always. He was a good man.
I will miss him. My condolences to his family.

Lisa Goettsch

June 5, 2019

I started at Bickford in February, so I had only known Ken for a short time. In that short time though, he quickly became one of my favorites. I will miss him very much.

Donna Jackson

June 5, 2019

I was so sorry to hear of Ken's passing. I knew him during his time at Bickford Cottage in Ames and missed him and his smile when he left. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends. Donna Jackson

Kris Krell

June 4, 2019

Kenny was 18 years older than me so I don’t recall much from my younger years, but the family stories say that he always tried to make people laugh! One story has him outside the living room window looking in with worms hanging out of his mouth to make us three much younger sisters laugh!

As I got to know him as a teenager and adult, he was always joking!

Kenny, you are missed.

Karla Erickson

June 3, 2019

Ken was quite s bit older than me, but always keep us laughing during visits. And always got my husband in the "dog house " during those visits. Miss you, Ken.

Kay (Smith) Stammerjohan

June 3, 2019

Everyone always loved Ken, he joked around a lot and always brought a smile to everyone's face.
When we were really little we lived in Meckling, South Dakota and I thought the sun set with Ken. I followed him around all the time and one day he tied me to the clothes line post in our yard so I could not tag after him. . I was 3 or 4 years old and not happy at all about the restriction. Ken was a little over 1 year older than me and to me he has always been special.
My heart hurts to lose him, that is 85 years worth of history. I will see him in heaven.