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Joe Thomas Smith


1929 - 2019
Joe Thomas Smith Obituary
Joe Thomas Smith, 90, of Beloit, Wis., died Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, at The Suites Hospice facility in Beloit.

He was born June 23, 1929, in Canton, Mo., the son of Frank William and Emma A. (Alderton) Smith. He was raised by his step-mother, Leta Smith, and his father, following his mother's early death.

Joe grew up in Canton and attended school there. Following his graduation from high school, Joe attended Culver Stockton College in Canton, and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in physics in May of 1951.

Following college graduation, Joe answered the call of his country and entered the U.S. Marines in 1951. He served in Korea during the Korean War as an electronics and radio repair mechanic II. He received his honorable discharge in August of 1953 with the rank of corporal. He was awarded the Korean Service Medal with two stars and the United Nations Service Medal.

On Sept. 3, 1961, Joe wed Catherine E. (Betty) Hickey at St. Peters Church in Keokuk. After the wedding, he and Betty made Beloit their permanent home. While living in Beloit, Joe and Betty became lifelong friends with George Porter, George's wife, Kate, and their children. Joe and George spent hours discussing most everything under the sun, especially the Chicago Bears football team. Theirs was one of those special friendships that not only endured over time, it grew stronger.

Joe began employment at Fairbanks-Morse in Beloit in 1953, working in the diesel engine testing laboratory. During his time with Fairbanks, he traveled extensively doing engine data collection on remote engine installations. His work took him to several South American countries, Greenland, and on U.S. Navy submarines at sea. He retired from Fairbanks after 37 years of service on June 30, 1991, as their chief instrumentation engineer.

He was a long-time member of American Legion Post 41 in Keokuk.

He is survived by his sister, Emma Ruth Ayers of Painted Post, N.Y.; nieces and nephews, including Steve (Cindy) Ayers of Canton, Diana Ayers of Bath, N.Y., Donna Ayers of Raytown, Mo., Ruth (Blanca) Ayers of Conway, Ark., Debbie (Kevin) Carr of Nutley, N.J., Tim (Rita) Hickey of Montrose, Mike (Karen) Hickey of Keokuk, Mary (Dennis) Blickhan of Keokuk, and Chris (Kevin) Blind of Solon, Iowa.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and his wife Betty, who died Jan. 22, 2008.

A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Vigen Memorial Home in Keokuk, with the Rev. Mike Shea officiating. Burial with military rites will follow the service at 11 a.m. in Keokuk National Cemetery.

Visitation for family and friends will be held prior to the service from 10-10:30 a.m. Monday at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Joe's memory to the Beloit Regional Hospice, 655 3rd Street, Beloit, WI 53511.

Vigen Memorial Home in Keokuk is assisting the family with arrangements.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.vigenmemorialhome.com.
Published in Daily Gate from Sept. 11 to Sept. 12, 2019
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