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November 22, 1952 ~ October 3, 2023 (age 70) 70 Years Old
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David Henry Smith (96) died on October 3, 2023 at the Arcola Health Care Facility in Arcola, IL. David was born in Champaign, IL on February 4, 1927 to Robert and Inez Smith. He attended St. Mary’s Elementary School and graduated from Champaign High School. In 1944, he enlisted in the Navy and served in the Pacific Theater of World War II onboard the USS Lansdowne. His ship ferried the Japanese delegation to the formal surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.
On November 22, 1952, David married Florene (Johnson) Smith at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Champaign. David and Florene were married for over 70 years and raised seven children together. They made a home at 1207 W. Washington in Champaign and resided there for over 50 years. David and Florene were faithful members (since 1959) of Holy Cross Parish and all seven of their children attended Holy Cross School.
Together they found a way to do whatever had to be done to make a joyous home and family. David worked 60-hour weeks almost all of his life to make sure his family had what they needed and some of what they wanted. Christmas and family vacations were no different. He strived to make each one happy no matter how much or how little was under the tree. He found the means to make family camping excursions an annual highlight. Some of the favorite destinations were the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Shenandoah National Park, Cape Hatteras Seashore, and the Rockies.
David served as a night-shift clerk with the Illinois State Police from 1950 through 1953. He worked at Service Liquor store in Urbana for 8 years, then managed Barnett’s Liquors in Champaign for another 27 years, until his retirement in 1989. After retirement, David worked part-time at Huber’s West End Tavern for several years.
David loved; St. Louis Cardinals baseball, walking at Allerton Park, socializing at Huber’s Tavern, long summer days at his lakeside cabin, researching family history, watching trains, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, drinking Bud Light beer, and being 40% Irish. Above all, he loved his family and boisterous gatherings around the dining room table with his wife, children, neighbors and friends.
David is survived by his wife, Florene, and children; Michael (Linda) of Canon City, CO; Stephen (Pirie) of Grand Junction, CO; Norman of Champaign; Gretchen Pierce (Fred) of Grand Junction, CO; Thomas (Kenneth) of Chicago, IL; John (Carol) of Champaign and Rebecca Meyerholtz (Keith) of Grand Junction, CO. He is also survived by 10 grandchildren, Eric, Rachel, Santiago, Margaret, Sean, Joshua, Jessica, Savannah, Michelle and Jacob, and six great grandchildren, Rose, Ayana, Lexie, Cutter, Zayn and Zahra.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Patricia Ann Kirk (Paul); and granddaughter Mary Ann Smith.
A rosary will be prayed at Owens Funeral Home, 101 North Elm St., Champaign, on Monday, October 9th at 3:30 p.m. followed by public visitation from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. A funeral mass will be held at Holy Cross Church, 405 W. Clark St., Champaign on Tuesday, October 10th at 10:00 a.m. Burial will take place immediately following at Grandview Memorial Gardens.
Memorials may be made to Holy Cross School http://holycrosselem.org/donate/