Billie Jean Smith, oldest son of Ernest Theodore and Leila Jeneive Smith, was born January 28, 1932, near Benton, Iowa, and passed away June 25, 2009, at his home in Mount Ayr, Iowa at the age of 77 years, five months and 27 days.
On August 12, 1950, he was married to Rena Rae Walters at the Methodist church in Tingley, Iowa. A daughter, Terry Jean, and a son, Teddy Hugh, were born to this union.
Bill’s first employment was as a manager and owner of service stations in Creston, Diagonal and Benton. In 1957 he was employed by the Iowa State Conservation Commission at the Mount Ayr Game Area. In 1958 he moved to Mount Ayr to become a fisheries culturist and later a biologist at the Mount Ayr Fish Hatchery where he continued employment for 30 years.
After retirement Bill and Rena moved to Mesa, Arizona, where he enjoyed working as a maintenance manager for Apache Wells Travel Trailer Resort. In April of 1992 they returned home to Mount Ayr to enjoy family, friends and community. Watching his grandchildren and great-grandchildren participate in various sports and activities brought him great enjoyment.
Other special interests in Bill’s life included serving as a school board member for six years, serving on the Mount Ayr Golf and Country Club board, a member and officer of the Jaycees and many other community activities.
His interest in working with youth and coaching little league programs led him to a 28-year career of officiating basketball games. He was privileged to work games at the girls state basketball tournament three times and was honored by the Iowa Girls Coaches Association by his induction into the Basketball Officials Hall of Fame in 2003.
In later years Bill’s favorite pastimes were planting and tending his bountiful gardens. As Bill enjoyed the outdoors, he took care of maintaining and manicuring all of the family lawns.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Ron; his parents’in’law, Hugh and Louise Walters; a brother-in-law, Wayne Walters, and a niece, Melissa Smith.
Left to cherish his memory are his best friend and devoted wife, Rena; his daughter and son-in-law, Terry and Curt Lininger; his son and daughter-in-law, Ted and Ronda Smith; grandchildren, Brandi and Tory Shay, Angie and Cassidy Shay, Renda Smith and Casey Smith; great-grandchildren, Addison, Adler and Adden Shay, Caden and Kinsie Shay, Kylee Smith and Kianna Paxson; brothers, Bobbie (Teri) Smith and Donald (Linda) Smith; sister-in-law, Ann Smith; brother-in-law, Keith (Jean) Walters, and many other relatives and friends.
Services were conducted at Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr on Saturday, June 27, 2009, with Rev. Peter Brantner officiating. Musicians were Justin Akers and Judy Cunning.
Honorary pallbearers were Bob Ricker, Larry Giles, Mark Larsen, Jerry Horton, Harvey Ploeger and Phil White.
Billie was laid at rest in the Rose Hill Cemetery, Mount Ayr.