Dr. R. L. (Ralph) Smith, 97, of Atlantic, Iowa, passed away Wednesday, November 21, 2018.
Doc was born June 25, 1921, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Ralph L. and Grace M. (Lynch) Smith. He grew up in Council Bluffs graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1940. During high school, in 1938, he became an amateur radio operator. In 1940 the government sent out a call and he enlisted in the Naval Reserves on September 16th of that year. He attended Navy Operators School, then received orders to Norfolk, VA to serve aboard the Battleship USS Texas. He attended Radio Material School in San Francisco, CA and on completion of school was sent to Conor, a naval aircraft service unit for radio/radar technician duty in Quonset Point Rhode Island. While on temporary duty to Collins Radio in Cedar Rapids, IA, for new technology training, he met his future wife, Betty. October 27, 1945, Doc was honorably discharged and served in the Naval Reserve for several years. He continued his interest in amateur radio and communicating all over the world with Morse code.
On June 3, 1946, he and Betty Jean Crane were married in Cedar Rapids. They moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where Doc attended Creighton University. They moved to Chicago, IL so he could attend Northern Illinois College of Optometry, graduating in 1949. They moved back to Council Bluffs where he started working as an optometrist. In 1951, Doc purchased Dr. H. M. Lynton’s practice in Atlantic, IA and have lived in Atlantic since. In 1990, he sold his practice to Dr. Robert Sharp but continued to work part-time until he retired in 2002.
At the age of 8, Doc took drum lessons. This also was a lifetime interest for him. He belonged to a number of concert bands. He played in the Iowa Western Community Band for many years. He also belonged to the Tangier Shriner’s Band in Omaha, NE and the Iowa Veterans band in Des Moines, IA. He, along with three others, had a band named Atlantic Big Band.
Doc was a member of the Iowa and Nebraska Optometric Associations and the American Optometric Association as well as the United Presbyterian Church. He was also a member of the Chamber of Commerce, past president of the Atlantic Rotary Club, a Mason and a member of the Tangier Shrine in Omaha, NE. Doc enjoyed reading and the times he and his daughter, Jackie, spent together. How he enjoyed spending the holidays with Jackie and her schnauzers.
Preceding Doc in death were his parents; Ralph L. and Grace Smith; brothers, Charles and Robert; infant daughter; and his wife, Betty in 1994.
Surviving him are his children, daughters, Jacqueline Smith of Atlantic, IA and Sharon (Jay) Elmore of Howell, MI; and son, Thomas R. Smith of Knoxville, TN; grandchildren, Christopher, Nicholas, Ashina, Alexandria, Andrew, Kyle, Michael and Christina; five great-grandchildren; nieces, nephews, cousins, and granddogs, Barrott, Max, Emma and Cooper.
Visitation with family will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Monday, November 26, 2018, at Hockenberry Family Care Funeral Home in Atlantic, Iowa.
A private family burial will be held in the Atlantic Cemetery, Atlantic, Iowa.
Memorials may be directed to the family to be designated later.