Mr. Ralph Edward Smith, age 86, of Whittington; went home, from the Marion VA Medical Center, to be with his Lord and Savior in Heaven at 10:15 p.m. Friday, February 18, 2022.
Funeral services will be at 12:00 noon Monday, February 21, 2022, at the First Christian Church of Benton with Pastor Kurt Sanders officiating. Burial with Military Honors will follow in the Masonic and Odd Fellows Cemetery of Benton, with Thompsonville American Legion Post #1194 and the U.S. Army Honor Squad from the Marion National Guard Armory. Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon Monday, at the First Christian Church, 302 South Main Street, Benton, IL 62812. Arrangements are through the Leffler Funeral Home of Benton.
Ralph was born on August 25, 1935, in Franklin County, Illinois, the son of Ralph M. Smith and Pearl (Carlton) Smith. He married the former Virginia Ethel Jones on March 9, 1958; and they were just shy of sharing 64 years of marriage together.
Mr. Smith served his country in the U.S. Army from January 25, 1955, to January 25, 1957.
He was a self-employed owner & operator of Smith Farms of Whittington. Ralph was ready to serve and lend a helping hand through his volunteering to numerous organizations, including: Director of the Farm Services Board, Farm Bureau Director, Past-President of the Benton Kiwanis, BCHS District 103 School Board Member, past Ewing Township Supervisor, Volunteer Fireman with the Ewing-Northern Fire Protection District, Thompsonville American Legion Post #1194, CASA Advocate, 4H Leader and Supporter, Hospice Volunteer, past Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, Parade Marshal for Farm City Days 2018. He and his wife Virginia together for 23 years were foster parents to numerous children.
He was a devoted Christian, and this was proven through his dedication and membership of 60 plus years with the First Christian Church of Benton. Over the years he served his church in various capacities including Elder, Deacon, Trustee, Sunday School Teacher, and was known as “King Apple Butter.”
Ralph enjoyed attending Sulky Harness Races. He had a love for horses. Ralph enjoyed cooking and use to cook the chickens at the Whittington Gun Creek Days, also he could be found cooking at the Kiwanis Pancake Days and Spring BBQs, and Men’s Breakfasts at the First Christian Church. Most of all he enjoyed spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.
Surviving is his loving wife Virginia Smith of Whittington; his three children: Ralph Duane Smith and wife Debbie of Whittington, Darla Kay Brachear and husband Mike of Benton, Darrell Eugene Smith and wife Cindy of Whittington; six grandchildren; fifteen great-grandchildren; siblings: Norma Page of Ewing, Robert Smith and wife Lorene of Royalton, Linda Ackerman and husband Lou of Tucson, AZ, Joyce Thomas and husband Bob of West Frankfort, Jack Smith and wife Frances of Benton; several loving nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and three sisters: Mary Schwind, Fay Krapf, Martha VanDyke.
Memorial contributions In Memory of Ralph Smith, may be made to the First Christian Church Building Fund or to St. Jude’s; and will be accepted at the services on Monday.
The family would like to say a special “Thank You,” for all of the support shown to them from friends and family during these last few weeks of Ralph’s life. Also, a special heartfelt Thank You to the staff at the VA Medical Center of Marion, for their compassion and care.
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