Leo Smith

Leo Joy Smith, 95, of Spencer, and formerly of Webb, passed away Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Home in Spencer.

Funeral services were held Sunday, Sept. 18, at First United Church of Sioux Rapids. Burial was in Northlawn Memorial Cemetery in Spencer with military rites by Sioux Rapids American Legion Post #394 on Monday, Sept. 19. Sliefert Funeral Home in Sioux Rapids was in charge of arrangements.

Leo “Joy” Smith was born on July 6, 1921 in Royal, to Aubrey Clifton and Sadie Belle (Campbell) Smith, the fifth of eight children. Joy attended school in Sioux Rapids, Webb and graduated from high school in Wheatland, Ind.

In 1942, Joy joined the United States Coast Guard and served under the Department of the Navy in the Pacific theater during World War II. He participated in the battle for Okinawa. Learning to cook on board the ship, Joy took great pride in rising to the position of sous-chef (second in command) during his time in the service. When the ship docked in port, he would volunteer at local restaurants in order to learn about different foods and their preparation. San Francisco was one of his favorite places to dock. Joy was honorably discharged on Feb. 20, 1946.

Joy and Esther Arlene Bittinger were united in marriage in 1947 in Sioux Rapids. Joy began farming with Esther’s father and continued farming for many years. To this union, four children were born: Merry Margaret, Timothy Joy, Theodore Hans and Gaye Elizabeth.  Esther and their son Theodore passed away in 1957.

In 1959, Joy and Joyce Ilene Johnson were united in marriage in St Paul, Minn. To this union Leo Brett and Matthew Lane were born. Now as a family of seven, they enjoyed school sporting events and programs, fishing and summers at Lost Island Lake.

During his lifetime Joy worked at different jobs including his first love, farming. He also enjoyed running a hone at Medford’s in Laurens, owning Smith Oil Co tank wagon service and driving school bus for South Clay. In later years he enjoyed helping his son Tim on the farm and driving truck for Rohlin Construction.

Joy enjoyed spending time with family and friends. He was always available for sharing a conversation and reminiscing. After retiring, he enjoyed driving throughout Clay County to check fields and stopping by to see what his children were up to for the day. His family was his pride and joy. 

Joy was a lifelong member of First United Church of Sioux Rapids.

Those left to cherish his memory include his children: Merry (Mike) Crotty of Havelock; Tim (Rita) Smith of Webb; Gaye Smith of Los Angeles, Calif.; Brett (Mary Jo) Smith of Dickens; Matthew Smith of Denver, Colo.; 11 grandchildren: Jerry (Shirley) Crotty, John (Julie) Crotty, Holly (Daniel) Durbin, Tim (Erin) Smith, Nicholas (Angie) Smith, Adam (Lora) Smith, Ryan (Ashley) Smith, Madella (Christopher) Deffer, Andrew Smith, Carrie Mumma, Lee Sehestedt; 21 great-grandchildren; seven great-great-grandchildren; brother, Kenneth Smith of Greenburg, Ind.; sisters: Margaret (Lee) Messenger of Windsor Heights; Glenna Jane (Francis) Miller of Rockford, Ill.; sister-in-law, Dorothy Smith of Bancroft; numerous nieces and nephews; extended family and friends.

Joy was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Esther and son, Teddy; granddaughter, Janelle Crotty; sister, Gladys Miller; and brothers: Wade, Clifton and Omar.

He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.