Robert D. Smith
1940 - 2020
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Robert D. Smith, of The Villages, Fla., passed away Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, of a hemorrhagic stroke. Papa was born Jan. 6, 1940, many years before he was Papa. Until then, he was Bobby Don, Smitty, Bob, Pop, and Dad. All of those names tend to represent different phases of life, each one special, but the name Papa fits like a strong hand in a warm glove! Although the hand has slipped from the glove, the strength and warmth remains in the hearts of all those he touched. Parents, Jay and Dorothy (Hayden); and sister, Joanna (Wilbur Hurd) all passed before him, leaving his older brother, Jack (Marilyn Hatchett), of New Mexico. He also leaves behind a deeply saddened but grateful family to follow him into the presence of God later: his beautiful, strong, servant-hearted, lifelong companion, support and loving wife, Betty (Lambert); two enormously proud and grateful kids, Mike (Tammy Bice) and Julie (David Ecrement); and four joy-filling, life-validating grandchildren, Riley (originator of "Papa"), Spencer (Ashley), Shaeffer (fiancee, Katie) and Tanner. All of whom couldn't possibly be more proud and thankful for the simple, steady, sacrificial life of their Papa. Born in Kenton, Ohio, loved by so many, he did all the stuff: class president, drum major, class plays, dance bands, and Dairy Queen ice-cream curler par excellence. Two years each at Ohio State and Ohio Northern produced a new electrical engineer, but not until first marching with TBDBITL in a Rose Bowl, and securing the hand of his "Kitten," Betty Jean. In the summer of '64, they married, she left the farm, and they both left the familiarity of small-town Kenton for the big city 200 miles to the east, through the Fort Pitt tunnels, and into the Wilkinsburg borough of Pittsburgh. In 1977, after 13 years with WABCO in the engineering department, and a brief time consulting in Virginia, they returned to North Huntingdon in 1980 to purchase Remote Control Systems, an electronics manufacturing company, servicing the light and heavy rail industry for 34 years. After much hard work, many sleepless nights, a quadruple bypass, and myriad business challenges, they moved to Florida in 2003 and retired fully in 2017. A memorial service will be held at a later date at his son's church in Columbus, Ohio. Arrangements entrusted with HIERS-BAXLEY FUNERAL AND CREMATION LIFE EVENT CENTER, 352-775-7427. Sentiments may be left online at

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Published in Greensburg Tribune Review on Sep. 20, 2020.
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3 entries
September 21, 2020
Wonderful man and great boss! It was a pleasure knowing and working for this man. I send my sympathies to the family, who will someday be reunited with him again.
Linda Eichelberger
September 21, 2020
A man of great significance who always took the time to make me feel special.
Carol and Ed
September 20, 2020
Bob was a wonderful, lifetime friend to me and my late husband Ted. The four of us shared so much of life throughout the years. My heartfelt love and prayers to my dear "sister" Betty, Mike and Julie and their precious families.
Carole Gerwing
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