John Edwin Smith, age 86, of Brookfield, died Thursday, August 20, 2020, at Norterre Nursing Home in Liberty.
Funeral services will be Tuesday, August 25, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. at Park Baptist Church with Pastor David Blakely officiating. Burial will be in Rose Hill Cemetery in Brookfield. The family will receive friends Monday, August 24, from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at Wright Funeral Home in Brookfield.
Memorials to Animal Shelter of Linn County or the American Cancer Society may be left at or mailed to Wright Funeral Home, P.O. Box 496, Brookfield, MO 64628.
John Edwin Smith was born October 25, 1933 in Brookfield, Linn County, Missouri to John Ernest and Alta Leta (Miller) Smith.
He joined Park Baptist Church July 25, 1943 where he was still a member.
He graduated from Brookfield High School in 1951. While in high school he excelled in athletics, playing football, basketball and track and field. His senior year he received the school athletic award for those achievements. He also participated in the school play and band, playing tuba, baritone and cornet.
During the summers he played baseball with American Legion and Ban Johnson baseball leagues as a utility player but mostly at catcher, first and third base. He also helped dig the foundation by hand for Smith Food Market which opened in January 1953.
He attended college at Central Missouri State College in Warrensburg on a basketball scholarship. Following an ankle injury he transferred to Northeast Missouri State College to play baseball.
He was invited to and attended baseball training camp in March 1952 where he was signed to play with the St. Louis Browns and was assigned to the K.O.H. league in Independence, Kansas. A highlight of his time with the Browns was playing catch with Satchel Paige. His time with the Browns ended because, as he put it, “I was prepared to play baseball but not prepared to work at playing baseball.”
He was united in marriage to Lois Ellen Wolfe in Marceline, Linn County, Missouri on June 1, 1952 and they had been married 41 years when Lois passed away July 2, 1993. To this union two children were born.
John enlisted in the United States Army on January 26, 1955 and assigned to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey in the Signal School. He was honorably discharged on January 25, 1958 as a Staff Sergeant. He received a Good Conduct Medal.
Following his time in the Army he explored several career options while providing for his family, including, but not limited to, working for IBM and as a butcher for his parents at Smith Food Market. He eventually was hired as a brakeman for the CB&Q Railroad. He moved to management with the Burlington Northern Railroad and moved to Mexia, Texas in 1981. He retired from BN while living in Shawnee, Kansas in 1988.
John moved back to Brookfield in 1988 and enjoyed his retirement playing golf and cards. He was a lifelong fan of Brookfield Bulldogs and St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs.
On July 11, 1995, John married Carol Matlick at Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. From this marriage John gained a stepdaughter, stepson, and a step-granddaughter. As both John and Carol were retired, they traveled to Tucson, Arizona, where they enjoyed the sun and John his golf. Then they moved to San Angelo, Texas for several years before returning to Missouri to be near family.
He is survived by his wife Carol, daughter Kathryn Leigh Wilcox (Liberty, MO), son David Brian (Vicki) Smith (Smithville, MO), six grandchildren, Chad (Erin) Wilcox (Austin, TX), Steven Wilcox (Liberty, MO), Kalie Wilcox (Franklin, TN), Jessica (Kale) Allen (Gladstone, MO), Emily (Zach) Wood (St. Charles, Iowa), Sarah (Carson) Davis(Kansas City, MO); one step daughter, Michelle Shiver (Memphis, TN), one step son Vince (Wende)Matlick (Weston, MO) and one step granddaughter Madisyn Matlick (Weston, MO). He also leaves one nephew, four nieces and many cousins and his faithful companion, dog Ben.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife, sisters Virginia Ellen Smith and Wilma Shirley Smith Skinner.
Due to recent health concerns, the family request individuals to wear masks.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Edwin Smith, please visit our floral store.
Animal Shelter of Linn County
American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City OK 73123