Ruth Esther Bell Smith
Lead singer of the Chuck Smith Orchestra, Pi Beta Phi sorority member (Butler University), and avid Peyton Manning, Colts and Mark Harmon fan, ardent Republican and Arsenal Technical High School graduate, passed away at home April 4, 2012, in Carmel, Indiana, at the age of 89.
Born August 30, 1922, in Indianapolis, Ruth attended Butler University, met and married Chuck Smith on Christmas Eve, 1941 (a Shortridge graduate, who preceded her in death in 1965).
The Chuck Smith Orchestra was a "Big Band" playing out of Shortridge High School and Butler University prior to WWII. The Band reformed after WWII and performed out of Indiana University and achieved regional acclaim. In the summers, the Band performed regularly at the dance pavilion at Westlake Beach on the west side of Indianapolis. They were often the lead-in act for well-known touring big bands such as Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Ray Anthony, among others.
During WWII, Ruth worked assembling radios for our troops downtown for RCA.
After Chuck's death, she became an executive secretary at the former Van Camp Hardware & Iron on W. 86th St., a small business retailer, a legal secretary for her son Ron in his practice, and then with Ron at Stewart & Irwin, PC.
Visitation will be Monday, April 9, 2012, from 11:00 a.m. until the time of service at 1:00 p.m. at Shirley Brothers Irving Hill Chapel , 5377 E. Washington St. She will be buried with her #18 jersey, Colts stadium blanket and photograph of Mark Harmon at Washington Park East Cemetery.
Ruth is survived by five of her six children, Ronald C. (Sharon), David R. (Patricia), Daniel S. (Susan), Deborah Jo Jones and Diana J. Navarro (Jorge); 14 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Daughter, Sally E. Smith preceded her in death in 1977. After the death of her husband, her main focus became her family. She was a wonderful matriarch, a fine example and a great friend.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Boy Scouts of America, Crossroads of America Council and/or Mitt Romney for President Campaign.
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