Willis Dale Smith, 80, of Poplar Bluff, MO, passed away Thursday, May 11, 2023 at Poplar Bluff, MO. He was born in Silva, MO, February 16, 1943, to parents Garrett L. and Velva A. (Allen) Smith.
Willis was a devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend but first and foremost he was a man of God and servant of Christ. He married the love of his life, Patricia Gray, September 5, 1964, and they were blessed with two sons. Willis proudly served in the United States Air Force. He was of the Baptist faith, he was called to preach and preached his first sermon June 3, 1964. He pastored many churches in the surrounding area. Willis was also a schoolteacher and school bus driver. He was very kind and soft spoken and touched many lives through the years, teaching school and through his ministry. He taught English and History. Willis loved to study History, especially American, Biblical, and Civil War history. He was constantly reading the Bible and books, learning all he could. He loved the challenge of hunting, muzzle loading, bow hunting, and fishing, however, his greatest love was preaching and attending church. He enjoyed football and baseball, going to Cardinal baseball games, and watching them on television. He earned a Bachelor of Science at Southeast State University in Cape while working full time, pastoring a church, and raising a family. Willis enjoyed traveling over the country with his wife and family, visiting many places and seeing many sites. He was well read, well spoken, and well-traveled.
He is preceded in death by both his parents.
Willis is survived by his loving best friend and wife of fifty-eight years; sons: Wesley Smith and wife Ginger of Jackson, Eric Smith and wife Marie of Jackson; grandchildren: Kala Verble and fiancé Mike Rushin, Britni Murray and husband Paden, Alexis Musgrave and husband Anthony, Jacob Smith and fiancé Tessa Mangels, Megan Smith and fiancé Zack Huber, twelve great-grandchildren; brothers: Cecil Smith and wife Barbara of Ravenden, AR, Rodger Smith and wife Claudia of Fredericktown, Garry Smith and wife Judy of Poplar Bluff; sister: Shirley Crutchfield of Poplar Bluff, Norma Trapp of Grandin; many nieces, nephews, cousins, and his companion, his dog, Sammy. Willis will be greatly missed by his family, friends, community and was greatly loved.
Visitation was held at 5:00 pm, Sunday, May 14, 2023, at New Hope General Baptist Church, Silva, MO. Funeral service was at 12:00 noon, Monday, May 15, 2023, also at New Hope General Baptist Church. Bro. Dan Ross ministered to the family. Bro. Louie Robinson gave a heartfelt eulogy. Bro. Wayne Page read the obituary. Bro. Bobby Smith read a short story “In One Day” written by Willis Smith. Music was provided by New Hope General Baptist Church choir accompanied by pianist Sandy Ross. A special song was provided by Gary Long accompanied by pianist Jennifer Krepps. Jacob Smith, Daniel Smith, Matt Andrews, Chris Andrews, Zach Huber, and Paden Murray served as pallbearers. Burial was in New Liberty Cemetery, Piedmont. Online condolences can be made at www.rueggfuneralhomes.com
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