April 1, 1941 - June 21, 2020
Sandhills rancher, Ken Smith, passed away in his home surrounded by his family, on June 21, 2020. Kenneth Ray Smith was born on April 1, 1941 to Everett and Irene (Clapper) Smith, the seventh of eight children, in Ainsworth, Nebraska. He attended K-8th grade at Chain Lake School Dist. 19. He graduated from Ainsworth High School with the class of 1958. Following graduation, Ken joined the military, proudly serving his country in the US Navy from January 30, 1959, in Omaha, Nebraska and was honorably discharged June 29, 1962, at Saufley Field, Pensacola, Florida, which included 6 months of extended service during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Ken married his high school sweetheart, G. Jeanne Gilliland on July 30, 1960, while home on leave. Daughter Pam (“Doc”) was born while they were stationed in Pensacola. Following discharge, Ken was employed by Drybred Herefords, Wilbur and Gene Drybred, south of Valentine, Nebraska, where daughters Kendy (“Sam”) and Konny (“Zeke”) were born. In 1965, Ken was employed by Lawrence & Georgia Peterson of Newport, Nebraska, where daughter Kim (“Shorty”) completed the family. In 1974 Ken and Jeanne purchased his family’s ranch where they made their home and currently reside. Ken was a good cowman and horseman; he was a conscientious steward of the beloved Sandhills. Ken was honored to be the first inductee into the Sandhills Cowboy Hall of Fame. He served in the Sandhills Cattle Association; was a recipient of Conservation Awards and Outstanding Farm/Ranch Family. Ken was a supporter of the Brown County Fair-sponsoring the Saddle Bronc Riding Buckle and was an Honorary FFA member for his support. He was a past Lector & Eucharistic minister in the St. Pius X Parish. He never met a stranger. His most precious pride and joy were his wife and family. He was preceded in death by his parents, Everett & Irene; his in-laws, Ralph & Delia Gilliland; siblings, John, Helen, Clifford, Wayne, Dallas & Gordon; granddaughter, Angel Yankowski; brothers-sisters-in-law. Surviving to cherish his memory are his wife of nearly 60 years, Jeanne Smith; daughters, Pam (Marve) Schmitz, Kendy (Turk) Blake, Konny (Larry) Zeigler, and Kim Yankowski. Grandchildren; Lezley (Jess) Koubek, Tyler Schmitz, Squeak (Hannah) Schmitz, Laura (Danny) Priest, Layne (Darin) Priest, Kolby (Tamra) Blake, Kade Blake, Zac (Katelyn Utter) Zeigler, Heidi Zeigler, Robyn Zeigler, Nate Yankowski, and Kori (Dallas) McCarville. Great-grandchildren; Tate and Tailey Koubek, Trypp and Milo Schmitz, MaKenna and Draiden Priest, Alyvia and Wrenley Priest, Owen, Caitlyn and Eliott Blake, Rowdy Zeigler, Dillon, Anna and Walker Zeigler, Suttyn Zeigler, Bristol and Briar McCarville; sister, Carol (Don) Lauf of Kansas City, Missouri; brothers-sisters-in-law, Beverly Smith of Ainsworth, Donna Smith of Maryville, Missouri, Barb and Delbert Fullerton of Gothenburg, Nebraska and Carole and Mike Witt of Valentine. He was a special Uncle Ken to numerous nieces and nephews, and called “Papa” by many. Funeral Services were held Friday, June 26, 2020 at the St. Pius X Catholic Church in Ainsworth with Father Mike Wetovick and Father Louis Nollette officiating. Music was provided by Nichole Flynn and DeAnn Morse, with the congregational singing, “In The Garden,” “Amazing Grace,” “Supper Of The Lord” and “On The Wings Of A Dove.” Scripture readings were given by Lorraine Pozehl and Carolyn Clark. The obituary was read by Bruce Beebout. Ken was carried by wagon and escorted by his grandsons on horseback to his final resting place in the Ainsworth Cemetery. Military Honors were conducted by Ainsworth American Legion Post #79. In lieu of flowers, memorials have been suggested to the family in Ken’s name for a future designation. Hoch Funeral Home of Ainsworth was entrusted with the service arrangements. Please visit www.hochfuneralhome.com to leave an online condolence.
Sandhills rancher, Ken Smith, passed away in his home surrounded by his family, on June 21, 2020. Kenneth Ray Smith was born on April 1, 1941 to Everett and Irene (Clapper) Smith, the seventh of eight children, in Ainsworth, Nebraska. He attended... View Obituary & Service Information
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