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Howard Alan Smith

Alan Smith

Howard Alan Smith was born on November 14, 1950 in Ames, Iowa. He was the oldest of five children.
His parents, Delbert and Mildred (Nelson) Smith, were missionaries for the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The faith that his parents demonstrated became a foundation for Alan’s life.
Because of their varied church assignments, the family moved often.
Alan spent his early years in Minneapolis, Minnesota before moving to Hilo, Hawaii. On the evening of his ninth birthday, the family traveled to the rim of the Kīlauea Iki volcano to watch the spectacular lava fountains from the eruption that began that day. From Hilo, the family moved to Lamoni, Iowa. He finished his high school years in Weslaco, Texas.
In high school, Alan edited the school newspaper.
He pursued his interest in journalism by attending Graceland College, where he studied English and social studies.
While at Graceland, he fell in love with Valle Loving. They were married June 2, 1973. They celebrated 50 years together at a party organized by the tremendously caring surgical intensive care staff of Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis where Alan was hospitalized for six months.
Alan’s journalism career spanned southern Iowa.
He began by working at the Red Oak Express in southwest Iowa. After two years in Red Oak, he attended Iowa State University, where he earned a master’s degree in journalism. His master’s thesis on the history of humor in church publications of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was the basis for his book Our Heritage of Humor.
While in Ames, Alan and Valle’s son Nathan was born.
The family moved from Ames to Ottumwa, Iowa. Alan worked for a regional newspaper chain. He became the pastor of the Ottumwa, Iowa RLDS church. He developed lifelong friendships with the young families of that congregation.
While the family lived in Ottumwa, Alan and Valle’s daughter Erin was born.
The opportunity to become the owner and editor of the Mount Ayr Record-News in 1980 attracted Alan to Mount Ayr, Iowa, where he spent the bulk of his career.
Alan’s weekly “Thoughts and Other Things” column in the Record-News chronicled his and the family’s adventures in rural Iowa.
Alan was dedicated to serving the Mount Ayr community through journalism for almost thirty-five years.
When it came time to retire, he refused to sell the paper to a newspaper chain, waiting for a buyer who would become a member of the Mount Ayr community.
He received numerous awards for his local coverage, including the Master Publisher/Editor award from the Iowa Newspaper Association. He served as president of both the Iowa Newspaper Foundation and the Iowa Newspaper Association.
Alan and Valle’s youngest daughter Cara was born after the family moved to Mount Ayr. Alan was a devoted father. Despite the heavy demands of producing a weekly newspaper, he supported his children in all of their activities. He faithfully attended almost every sports, music, speech, drama, or school event that his busy children participated in.
Alan’s fandom extended beyond his children to all Mount Ayr Community Schools’ activities. He made it a goal to include as many students’ names in the paper as possible each week. He made no pretense of journalistic detachment as he cheered on the Mount Ayr Raiders football team while covering them from the sidelines.
Alan was an ordained minister for 58 years. He made it his life’s mission to share God’s love and serve his kingdom in whatever capacity he could.
Alan served as pastor for the Mount Ayr RLDS congregation, and later the Mount Ayr Restoration Branch. He loved the Lord and was dedicated to shepherding the members of his congregation. He will be remembered for his gentle, humble ministry. In his final days, Alan’s continual message was how much he loved those around him, and how much God loved them.
Alan enjoyed being creative and appreciated the arts. Photography was an important part of his journalism.
After retiring to Independence, Missouri, Alan enjoyed participating in the Northland Photography Club, taking many photography trips with friends, and spending hours editing his pictures.
He sang in the Ringgold Singers and the Jacomo Chorale. Highlights of his acting experience included roles in Annie and Amahl and the Night Visitors with the Moonlighters Theater Group in Mount Ayr and Guys and Dolls at Graceland.
Alan’s favorite role was that of Papa to his five grandchildren Eli, Millie, Esther and Adella Cornish, and Timothy Smith. He was always a willing participant in keeping the kids occupied, whether it was reading a book, playing games, or immersing himself in the world of Barbies. He invented the game tickle monster with his children, and it is still a favorite with grandchildren.
In Independence, Alan was a pastor and active member of Gospel Park Restoration Branch. He enjoyed traveling with friends and family, making extensive photo books of trips to Ireland, Alaska, Scotland, and Germany. For the last twelve years of his life, he worked to manage the effects of progressive liver disease with the assistance of an excellent medical team.
He passed away peacefully at Evelyn’s House Hospice in Creve Coeur, Missouri on June 27, 2023.
Alan was preceded in death by his parents, Delbert Smith and Bertha Mildred Smith and his brother Steven Smith. He is survived by his wife Valle Smith, his son Nathan (Julie) Smith, his daughters Erin (Peter) Cornish, and Cara Smith, grandchildren Elisha Cornish, Millicent Cornish, Esther Cornish, Adella Cornish, Timothy Smith, his siblings Ron (Di) Smith, Karen (David) Bates, Doug (Judi) Smith, and many extended family.
A visitation will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on July 7, 2023 at Good Shepherd Community of Christ Church, 4341 Blue Ridge Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64133. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on July 8 at Good Shepherd.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Gospel Park Restoration Branch or the Jacomo Chorale. In Alan’s memory, the family would encourage you to become an organ donor and donate blood on a regular basis.

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