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Ken Smith passed away at Valley View Village on Tuesday, December 4, 2012. Ken was born on June 4, 1921, the oldest of four brothers to Fred B. and Ruth (Ellison) Smith. He lived all of his life in Des Moines, Iowa except for four years in the military service from 1942 to 1946.
Ken graduated from East Des Moines High School in 1939, attended Drake University where he received both Bachelor and Master's Degrees in Education and took advanced work at Denver University and Columbia University in New York City.
He was inducted into the U.S. Army in September 1942 and served basic training at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. Later, he worked as secretary to many different officers in Headquarters Armored Force and 21st Corps Headquarters. Serving on the advanced unit to prepare for the movement of the 21st Corps Headquarters to Europe, Ken had free time to roam the streets and villages of France, England, and Germany - a historic wonderment until a mission for the unit was established. The 21st Corps eventually became a stalwart feature in the Battle of the Bulge, moving rapidly throughout Germany. Ken had the good fortune of arriving in Paris on V.E. Day, joining Frenchmen in their flare of celebration - working along the Champs Elysee and worshipping in Notre Dame Cathedral.
On returning to the U.S., Ken completed his education and was employed by the Des Moines Public School System where he was assigned to teach at McKee and Douglas Schools and served as principal of McKee (Meredith), Scott, Willard, Rice, Riley, and Samuelson Schools. Upon retirement, Ken enjoyed gardening and spent 30 years exhibiting watercolors throughout the U.S. He was active in his church, serving on the council, was a member of the Iowa Watercolor Society, a Life Member of the NEA, a Life Member of the Scouts Organization, and an active member of the Winterset, Iowa Art Center.
Survivors include his wonderful wife of 63 years, Shirley; two nephews, Douglas and Raymond Smith and niece, Mary Goodner of Albuquerque.
The family wishes to thank all of the devoted care keepers for their help.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Capitol Hill Lutheran Church, 511 Des Moines Street, Des Moines, IA 50309.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at Capitol Hill Lutheran Church followed by burial at Laurel Hill Cemetery.
Published in Des Moines Register on Dec. 9, 2012