OBITUARY

Robert E. Smith

September 3, 1933May 13, 2019
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Robert E. “Bob” Smith., 85, Overland Park, Kansas, passed away Monday, May 13, 2019.

Bob was born September 3, 1933, in Topeka, the son of Thomas and Ruth Wrenn Smith. He graduated from Hayden High School in 1951. Bob attended and played football for Kansas State University where he earned a bachelor of business degree in 1955. He was a “tough as nails” linebacker on a very good football team. Bob married Janis Crawford from Stafford, Kansas on December 27, 1955. Janis was his first college date. They celebrated 63 years of marriage in December 2018. Bob wants you to know that is above the national average. Bob served in the United States Air Force. He owned and operated Bob Smith Motor Company in Kansas City, Missouri since 1958 where he represented cars honestly and priced them fairly. “Ask your neighbor, he’s dealt with us.”

Bob’s Catholic faith was very important to him. He served as a communion distributor at Curé of Ars Church for 47 years. He was a proud Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. His fellow Curé of Ars parishioners will miss him dearly. Bob humbly achieved 49 years of continuous sobriety through a 12 Step Program. He served as President of the National Council on Alcoholism (Kansas City Area) in 1978 and as a member of the Executive Board for six years. The organization, now named First Call, honored him by naming the Bob Smith Recovery Champion Award and the First Call Board Room after him. He sponsored nearly 100 recovering alcoholics, many of them high school classmates and Roman Catholic priests. “When one drunk gets sober, ten people get happy.” Bob is directly linked to the happiness of thousands of people. Bob loved his recovery program and what it has done for him and for his family. He considered its members to be his tribe whom he loved passionately. He will be missed.

Bob’s family was most important to him. He was a youth football coach and active in all his children and grandchildren’s activities. Bob is survived by his wife, Janis; children Shannon McNeely, Tamara Bryant, David Smith (Cindy); grandchildren Heather Lenahan (Mark), Jason Bryant (Faith), Jeremy Bryant (Andrea), Aaron McNeely (Riana), David Burke Smith, Katherine Smith, and Everett Smith; great grandchildren Carter McNeely and Parker Lenahan; sister Ruth Lampton; and siblings, Steve Smith and Becky Smith.

Bob knew that God loved him passionately and that “together God and Bob could do more good than either God or Bob could do alone.”

Visitation will from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, May 16 at McGilley State Line Chapel, 12301 State Line Road, Kansas City, MO. Mass of Christian Burial will be 11 a.m. on Friday, May 17 at Curé of Ars Catholic Church, 9401 Mission Road, Leawood, KS. In lieu of flowers, please make charitable donations to First Call: https://www.firstcallkc.org/donate.

Services

  • Visitation Thursday, May 16, 2019
  • Mass of Christian Burial Friday, May 17, 2019

Memories

Robert E. Smith

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Beth Smith

May 20, 2019

My condolences to Bob's family, as you walk through this difficult season. We have lost such a gentleman. I came to know Bob through our 12-step recovery group meetings, where he faithfully shared (with his us, his "tribe") his experience, strength and hope with a sense of dignity, generosity and humor. I am richer for having met him. Blessings, peace and rest to you, my friend. Save a seat for us at the table:)

Katy & John Morris

May 18, 2019

Bob Smith was a dear man & business neighbor in our Waldo community. Generations of our family bought his guaranteed quality used vehicles. Each transaction was a personal commitment of time & family conversations, sure to end up with the car of your choice. An entire history of our new purchase was disclosed & we subsequently left feeling as if we had just added a new member to our family!
Thank you, Bob, for years of quality service & integrity and may your light continue to shine for others. Blessings to your family.

Frank Rodkey

May 16, 2019

I was Bobs T 33 instructor at Web Air force base Texas in 1956 This was perhaps my first or second class and I remember Bob coming to me at the Officers Club during the initial reception with a white headed man and he introduced him as a Major he wasn’t he was a classmate of Bobs and Bob thought that was very funny I was surprised he had the guts to do that since in those days your instructor was almost God
My first year with TWA was 1965 and I shared a room for one year with Bob’s
friend Roy Glish sometimes I would stop by and chat with Bob I always enjoyed those visits I’m glad to hear he overcame many of his problems sorry I can’t be there tonight since I have previously scheduled plans

Bob Bechtel

May 16, 2019

I knew Bob from the last century. Back at Hayden High, I was a senior when Bob and my brother, Ted, were freshmen. They were the best of friends,playing football together, having fun together after hours.
I kept in touch with Bob later on in Kansas City, and bought several cars from him. He was truly one of a kind! He was a master of the English language, along with a great sense of humor. He was and still is a real Christian.
Bob Bechtel

Jim Cleary

May 16, 2019

I have known Bob for over 35 years. He was genuine in his care for and work with others. He was my friend and like all others who knew him...he will be missed.

Jo Slahck

May 16, 2019

So sorry for your loss. Bob was such a kind and gentle man. He always inquired about how things were going for me each year when it came time for his annual tax appointment. Always genuinely interested. Will be missed.

Patricia Gerken-Maxwell

May 15, 2019

So very sorry to hear of Bob's passing. He was an incredibly kind and caring person. When I'd see him at Cure' of Ars, we would talk about David and my kids (John and Holly). When Jan was with him, he made a point to bring me over to see her. It is inevitable that, at our ages, we lose someone every day. But this in no way diminishes the sorrow when we lose such a special person as Bob. My condolences to the family, with a prayer for your blessings. Sincerely, Patricia

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