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Stephen Earl Smith

Stephen E. Smith, Beloved Husband, Father, Brother and Grandad passed away September 7, 2021 at his home in Baxter Springs, Kansas.

Steve was born April 12, 1944 to Earl and Imogene (Edens) Smith, the youngest, and as he would tell it, the most humorous of their 3 children. Steve grew up in Joplin, MO and graduated Joplin High School with the Class of 1962.

After High School Steve headed off to KU to live the life of a Jayhawk, but was called home after a year by his father who said “I want you to get a Diploma, not just a D” (he was having too much fun, which will prove to be a common thread throughout life)! Steve, moved back to the area, married and became a proud father to his first son, Shane and the family resided in Springfield, MO for a short while and then it was back home to attend Pittsburg State University where he walked away with a B.S. in Business Administration.

After his education was behind him he moved to Dallas, Texas, where he took a job with Alcoa Aluminum. There he met a beautiful co-worker and the love of his life, Janice Cheryl “Cherie” Porter. On May 16, 1970 they married in Gainesville, TX. She says, “I married him because he made me laugh…and of course, I loved him”.

They lived in Garland, TX as newlyweds, with Shane and then he brought her back to Southwest Missouri in 1971 to begin a grand adventure.

Steve’s father Earl & his brother Bud were respected businessmen in the Joplin area, owning and operating hometown grocery stores and Steve took over Earl Smith’s Market on Broadway upon his retirement. Steve eventually bought a grocery store in Baxter Springs, KS and moved his growing family to the small Cowtown in 1978. By this time, they had added 2 beautiful brown haired children, Cynthia and Brian and only a couple of months in Baxter, they completed their family with a blonde haired baby boy, Bradley.

Steve was a wonderful servant to his community coaching girls Softball, baseball, serving with the Lion’s Club, and volunteering his humor on stage for many years at Blast from the Past. Always with a smile, and a hug, and a joke, Steve loved being the center of attention! He was one of a kind.

Steve was preceded in death by his parents, Earl & Imogene Smith, his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, E. Leigh & Bettye Jo Secrest and brother-in-law, Harlan Stark.

He is survived by his loving and faithful wife of 51 years, Cherie Smith, of the home. Children, Shane Savage-Rumbaugh, New Bedford, MA, Cynthia Bennett & husband Kevyn, Denison, TX, Brian Smith & wife Jennifer, Baxter Springs, KS & Bradley Smith, Jacksonville, FL. 9 grandchildren, Jarrett Shapp, Sydney Smith, Emma-Leigh Smith, Nicholas Smith, Martha Savage, Jack Bennett, Sophia Bennett, Reese Bennett and Sloane Smith & 1 great-grandson, Beckham Smith-Hill.

Additional survivors include sister, Barbara Stark, Dallas, TX, brother & sister-in-law Edward “Bud” and Nancy Smith, Joplin, MO. brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Kenneth & Marge Porter, Hideaway, TX, and sister-in-law Muff Secrest, Hideaway, TX.

Steve will always be remembered as a kind man who would help anyone he could.

Visitation is scheduled Thursday, September 9, 2021 from 6:00 to 7:00pm at Derfelt’s Funeral Home in Baxter Springs.
Funeral Service is to be held on Friday, September 10, 2021 at 2:00 p.m at Derfelt’s Funeral Home in Baxter Springs, KS.
Graveside following the service at Ozark Memorial Cemetery in Joplin.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Baxter Springs American Legion Post 206.

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