Kenneth Smith

Obituary of Kenneth Smith

A New Year baby, Kenneth Myron Smith was born January 1st, 1926 in Burlington Colorado to the parents of Myron Collins Smith and Ruth Mabel (Bowman) Smith. Growing up on the family farm about 13 miles north of Burlington, Kenneth attended the Happy Hollow school until the 8th grade which was about a three-mile horse ride each way from their home. Tragically, in the fall of 1940 at the age of 14, Kenneth and his sister Jeanette came home from school to find their mother deceased of an apparent heart attack. This tragedy changed the course of their family, with Jeanette being sent to Burlington to live with relatives and Kenneth being forced to quit school to help on the farm. He was required by the state to finish his 8th grade year, so before leaving for school every day, he had to have the dishes washed, and the cream separator cleaned, causing him to be late for school most days. Kenneth remained on the farm, working with his father, until he was drafted into the US Army in April of 1944, starting out at Ft. Logan Colorado. He was sent to Europe in January of 1945 and served with the 863rd Field Artillery Battalion, as a cannoneer, in the Rhineland of Central Europe. He was honorably discharged, at the end of WWII, in May of 1946. Kenneth took great pride in his service to his country and was a member of the local chapters of the VFW and Military Order of the Cootie. He participated in as many of the honor guard events as he could until his health no longer would allow. After his discharge, he returned to farming and ranching with his father. Life was never easy; he was riding a horse working cattle one day when the horse stumbled in a hole and fell on him. He got up from the event and thought that he was okay, only to not be able to get out of bed the next morning. At the time, the ambulance and the hearse were the same things. They had no phone, so his father had to drive to town, find Bob Hendricks the local mortician and ambulance driver. Return to pick up Kenneth, where they had to manhandle him into the vehicle in incredible pain. Getting to town, they found he had a broken pelvis. In 1964 Kenneth began corresponding with Evie Kaira Harris of Albany Vermont that grew into something more. Evie moved to Burlington, and they married in Goodland Kansas on July 10, 1965. They remained each other’s companion for the next 41 years, until Evie’s death in October 2007. No children were born to this union. Kenneth farmed with his father until his father passed away in December 1968 and the decision was made to sell the farm. After that Kenneth worked as a custodian at several institutions in the area; including Kit Carson County Court House, Stratton Schools, Cheyenne Wells School and Kit Carson County Memorial Hospital. As he grew older, he did odd jobs and lawn mowing for a number of local residents. Even after he could no longer drive, you could see him pushing a mower around town to get from job to job. Kenneth believed in being self-reliant and did all he could to take care of himself. Kenneth was a caring and faithful person. He could be found in his later years, every day, going to visit his sister and the other residents of Grace Manor Care Center. He only missed when the weather was extremely bad, or he wasn’t feeling well. He had humble needs and was very appreciative of everything and everyone around him. As he grew older, he became quite deaf. Anyone that spent any time with him knows that one of his standard responses to a question was Right, Right, Right. What this really meant was he hadn’t understood a word that you’d said, but he wanted to be agreeable with whoever he was with. Tim McGraw currently has a hit song named Humble and Kind, this would describe Kenneth to a tee. Success in life has many definitions, and if that includes being humble and kind, Kenneth was a huge success. He will be missed! Kenneth passed away peacefully in his sleep July 8, 2016, from complications of pneumonia brought on by a weaken immune system from leukemia he suffered with for several years. The leukemia caused the skin cancer he also suffered from to grow in a very rapid manner. Kenneth was preceded in death by his wife Evie, his parents Ruth and Myron Smith, brother-in-law Edgar Stahlecker and nephew Kerry Stahlecker. He is survived by his sister Jeanette Stahlecker of Burlington CO. Niece-in-law, Sandy Stahlecker of Burlington, her children; Dustin of Burlington and Nicole Hyre, husband Dane and their children Noelle and Dylan all of Westminster CO. Niece, Deanna Harrison, husband Bruce of Burlington CO and their children; Landon of Centennial CO and Sterling of Burlington CO. Nephew, James Stahlecker of Omaha NE. And friend Floyd Jones of Burlington CO.
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