Earla Willard Smith
Earla Willard Smith, 104½, passed away peacefully, November 19, 2012, at his home.
He was born May 19th, 1908, the son of Will Logan and Mary Elva (Guiste) Smith, at his parents' home in North Jackson. He was the fourth born of eight children and the oldest living child, and the oldest life-long living resident of North Jackson.
Earla started working on the family farm beginning at the age of five, helping his family make their living selling vegetables at the local farmers market. When he was eight, he was playing with dynamite blasting caps and blinded himself in his right eye, (but that never slowed him down and he could still "line up" a fence post). He drove a horse drawn school bus (called a "Kid Hack") when he was only a sophomore in high school. While in school Earla won many academic awards and graduated from Jackson High School in 1927. He still quoted poetry (Longfellow being his favorite) and could recite the whole Gettysburg Address, from memory and did so on his 100th birthday.
Earla married Sadie Adell Archer, on August 22, 1931 and was married to her for 67 ½ years, until her passing in 1999. In 1932, Earla and Sadie had a son, Elmer Willard Smith. Earla ran "The Farm" in North Jackson, which operated as a diary farm and sold the milk to Islay's, until 1952. Today, "The Farm" raises beef cattle and horses and services as the hub of family activities.
He worked on the ground floor of the space industry when he was employed at RMI, in Niles, OH. He was part of the processing of titanium for both the second satellite and the "Moon Buggy". He retired from RMI in 1973 after 24 years of service. He was very patriotic and extremely proud to be an American.
Earla has traveled to all but three providences of Canada; he has vacationed in Hawaii and has been to every state except Alaska. He has flown to Japan to visit two of his great-grandchildren stationed there in the Navy. (When he was born, he was never issued a birth certificate, so he had funny stories to tell about how he got his passport to go to Japan.)
A dozen of his grandchildren have been involved in 4-H (horses and rabbits), claiming all the 4-H kids and their families were his grandchildren too! He sponsored horse shows and provided the ribbons and medals for various shows throughout the years. Earla invited North Jackson Corral Crue to base their 4-H group on his 100 acre farm to ride and train their horses, have meetings, use the swimming pool and even allowed them to cut down trees to build a riding arena.
He spent every day of the Canfield Fair, with the 4-H group. Being all about kids, he cheered on all of the kids during their events. He loved to tell the story of how in 1912, he traveled to the Canfield Fair, for the first time in a horse drawn surrey (buggy) with the fringe on top. He lived his life with the most wonderful memories and some of the greatest stories. In 2003, he was awarded the Canfield Fair's 4-H "Most Senior Saddle Horse Honorary Member and in 2005 he was awarded the Ohio State Extension Offices' "Friend of 4-H"
Earla wintered in Florida with one of his grand-daughters and participated in the Mardi Gras parades the last several years he was there, gaining quite a collection of beads. The in the summers, he would come home to North Jackson and either rode his golf cart or hay wagon along the 4-H horses and toss out beads during the Memorial Day and Fourth of July parades, becoming known as the "bead guy". In 2008, he was grand marshal of the North Jackson 4th of July parade and in August of 2008, even got to throw out the first pitch at the Cleveland Indian's game. His family threw him two wonderful parties for his 100th birthday, one in Pensacola, FL and the other in North Jackson, OH. The theme for both parties….Mardi Gras!
Earla always said the secret to his long life was the love of a good wife and family, eat lots of salt and BE HAPPY!
He will be dearly missed by his six grandchildren; Sandy (Dan) Hoop, of Freeport, OH, Fred (Carol) Smith, of Berlin Center, OH, Adell (Roger) Clouse, of North Jackson, OH, Elmer (Cheryl) Smith Jr., of North Jackson, OH, Jean Marie (Johnny) Ramsey, of Pensacola, FL, and William Alan Smith and his partner Shelley Baumgartner, of Gustavus, OH, a brother Harry Daryl Smith, of Mineral Ridge, OH, 24 great-grandchildren, 29 great-great-grandchildren, all of their spouses and hundreds of nieces, nephews, and everyone's' lives he touched.
Earla was preceded in death by his loving wife, Sadie, his son Elmer W. Smith Sr., and six brothers and sisters; Thelma Graham, Harold Smith, Lauren Smith, Sylva Hallos, Mona Smith, and Velda Smith.
Funeral services will be held Saturday November 24, 2012 at 11:00AM at the Lane Family Funeral Home, Austintown Chapel.
Friends will be received, Friday, November 23, 2012 from 10:00AM-1:00PM and from 4:00PM-7:00PM, at the Lane Family Funeral Home, Austintown Chapel, and again Saturday, November 24, 2012 from 10:00AM until the time of the service.
Interment will be at North Jackson Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the donor's choice of Mahoning County 4-H, Hospice, or for Pancreatic Cancer research.
Arrangements were handled by Lane Family Funeral Homes, Austintown Chapel.
Family & Friends can send condolences to either www.lanefuneralhomes.com
or Earla's Facebook page; @EarlaSmith1908
Express your condolences in our guestbook at pnj.com/obits