Burdette W. Smythe (1938 - 2012)

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Burdette W. Smythe


Burdette Smythe died Saturday, May 26, 2012. Burdette was born September 3, 1938 in Zanesville, Ohio to George and Mary Grace Smythe. Visitation will be held at Memorial Services of Iowa (4208 N. Ankeny Blvd) on Monday, May 28 from 1 to 3 p.m. with the family present. Funeral Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 29 at Memorial Services of Iowa. Burial will follow at Ankeny Memorial Gardens.

As a young boy, Burdette enjoyed playing trumpet and French horn in the Zanesville junior high and high school band and orchestra. He also played in the Zanesville Community Band for several years. He enjoyed taking and processing photographs as a business. Burdette graduated from Zanesville (OH) High School, received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in Music and, a Master of Education degree with a major in music performance both from Ohio University in Athens as well as completing partial work toward a Doctorate degree at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He played in the Detroit MI Concert Band, the Toledo (OH) Symphony, the Gulf Coast (MS) Symphony, the Jackson (MS) Symphony, and the Mobile (AL) Symphony. He played French horn in the Des Moines Symphony for 29 years and 26 of those years as principal horn. He built his first room addition at the age of 12. In 1974 he started his own construction business in the Des Moines area. More recently, he was a construction supervisor for several large commercial jobs in Iowa.

On September 14, 1958 he married Ruth Schweikert at the First Methodist Church in Athens, Ohio. Together they raised four sons and lived in four different states.

He was a church choir director for many years in Ohio, Mississippi, and Iowa. He enjoyed being associated with the choir in every church where he became a member. During his college years, he directed the Wesley Foundation Choir at Ohio University. He was a college music professor for many years, in Muskingum College, New Concord, (OH); University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, (MS); and Drake University, Des Moines, (IA). He enjoyed his grandchildren, music, woodworking, and TV. He was an avid punster, keeping everyone in "stitches", and his children kept trying to "one-up" him in response. There was never a dull moment when everyone was present.

His parents, George and Mary Grace (Smith) Smythe; a sister, Boneva (Jake) Wheeler of Newark, Ohio; a twin brother, Bernard Smythe of Ankeny; and two grandchildren, Zachary and Jordan Smythe, of Ankeny, IA, preceded him in death. He will be greatly missed by his wife of 53 years and his family. He is also survived by his four sons, Scott (Cathleen) of Wellington, FL, Brian (Kathy) of Nashville, TN, Stephen (Melissa) of Ankeny, IA, and Matthew (Christa) of Ankeny, IA; nine grandchildren, Rebecca (Joe) Phillips of Saudi, Arabia; Marine PFC. Spencer Smythe, Taylor, Britta, and Annie Smythe, of Wellington, FL; and Joshua, Faith, Lucas, and Madison Smythe, of Ankeny, IA.

Online condolences may be made at www.memorialservicesofiowa.com


Published in Des Moines Register on May 27, 2012
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