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William "Bill" L. Smith

William William (Billy) Lafayette Smith, age 87, of Salado, Arkansas, passed away on March 9, 2020 in Topeka, Kansas.

He was born on June 21, 1932 the son of William Estell and Mary Dorcas Stewart Smith. He was the middle child of seven. He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings, son William Estell Smith and his wife Donna Smith and a granddaughter Amanda Mesa.

Billy worked many jobs from the age of 11 to help support his family. On October 20, 1952 he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served until he retired on November 30, 1972 while at Fort Riley. He then retired from civil service position at Fort Riley.

During his time in the Army he served two tours in Vietnam, as well as a tour in Germany, France, and Korea. While stationed in Germany, he met Margarete Ruhmann. They had to have an interpreter while dating and also when they were married. They were married on April 16, 1955 in Frauenaurach, Germany, by the American Court and then walked to the local church. Bill jokes that he married the same woman twice in the same day. Therefore, he always wore two wedding bands.

Together they had eight children: Monica Houston and husband Billy Houston, William and his wife Donna Smith (deceased), George Smith, John Smith, Terry and his wife Debbie Smith, Homer and his wife Deb Smith, Rosalee and husband John Lyttle, and Denis Smith. They also have 18 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.

Billy worked as many as three jobs at a time to provide for his family. He loved to work with wood and built many bird houses. He also enjoyed bowling and sewing.

Funeral Services for Mr. Smith will be held at 10:00 a.m. Thursday March 12, 2020 at the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Chapel in Manhattan. The family will greet friends from 9:00 a.m. until service time Thursday at the funeral home. Following the services interment with full military honors will be at the Kansas Veterans’ Cemetery at Fort Riley.

Everyone is welcomed to come and celebrate his memories.

The Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, Kansas 66502, is assisting the family with the funeral arrangements.

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