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Funeral Ceremony: 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 2, 2023, at Bethlehem Christian Church in Flora
Interment: Bunker Cemetery, Rinard
Visitation: 5 until 8 p.m. on Friday evening at Frank & Bright Funeral Home and 10-11 a.m. on Saturday at the church
Robert “Bob” Eugene Smith, age 80, of Flora, Illinois, departed this life early Tuesday morning, August 29, 2023, at his home.
He was born on August 24, 1943, to Ralph Robert and Elsie Marie (Elliott) Smith.
He was an employee of Sparton Manufacturing in Flora for twenty-two years. He also worked eight years for Airtex in Fairfield. Both jobs were in product engineering. He was so proud of earning the SAE degree, Society of Automotive Engineers, as you would normally have to have a college degree for it.
After retiring in 1998, he dedicated most of his time to building and displaying Smith Mill area at his home. Several thousand people, estimated to have been around 8,500, have enjoyed the fruits of his labors there. He was a member of the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills (SPOOM).
Bob was very active in his extensive shop with wood working, metal work, and blacksmithing. He was awarded the Tony Pandy award from the Queen of England for his contribution of a steel ostrich for the gates of the Shakespearean Globe Theatre in London, England.
Bob was a member of Artist Blacksmith Association of North America (ABANA), and a member and mentor for the Illinois Blacksmith Association.
Bob was a veteran of the United States Air Force during the Vietnam conflict specializing in computers for electronic cryptography.
He was a member of the Bethlehem Christian Church in rural Flora.
Bob married Connie Marlene Schott Tibbs on June 22, 1997, at their rural home in Rinard. She survives along with her son, Bart Tibbs (wife Tammy) of Marshfield, Missouri, and granddaughters, Grace Tibbs of Chicago and Emma Tibbs (husband Keegan) O’Dell of Conway, Missouri.
Other survivors include a brother, Earl Ray Smith of Wasco, a sister, Kathy Marie Smith Anthenat of Springfield, and various nieces and nephews. Other survivors are stepchildren, Anthony Rutt of Evansville, Indiana, Eric Fox of Bettles, Alaska, and Kristin Fox Britt of Boston, Massachusetts.
In addition to his father and mother, he was preceded in death by his sister, Patricia Mae Smith Scott, brother, Jimmy Lee Smith, sister-in-law, Marilyn Picago Smith, Jimmy and Marilyn’s infant son, Samuel Lee Smith, and a stepson, Curtis Rutt.
A funeral ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 2, 2023, at Bethlehem Christian Church in Flora. Interment will follow in Bunker Cemetery, Rinard, with the presentation of military funeral honors. A visitation will be held from 5 until 8 p.m. on Friday evening at Frank & Bright Funeral Home in Flora and 10 until 11 a.m. on Saturday at the church. Memorial donations are suggested to Bethlehem Christian Church, and these will be accepted through the funeral home. To share a condolence or memory, visit: www.frankandbright.com
Marlene, So very sorry to hear of Bob's passing. What a very special man he was. Remember all wonderful times together and hold those thoughts in your heart.
Marlene and family, So sorry to hear this. Hugs and prayers for peace and strength. 🌺
I'm so very sorry to hear of Bob 's passing. Please Marlene let me know if there is anything I can do . Prayers for the family at this difficult time!!
So sorry to hear about the passing of Bob. My sincere condolences to the Smith Family 🙏❤️🫂
I'm so sorry for the families loss. Sorry Anthoney. Been a long time ol' friend.
The Smith family and Patterson family have intertwined for so many years! Prayers Marlene and family! God be with you all!
Bob was such an amazing person who made our family more interesting, unique, and special. He will be greatly missed by all of us. Prayers and love to Marlene and all the members of our extended family.
Marlene and family, I offer my condolences and prayers for the loss of your loving husband and relative Bob Smith. The area has lost a true engineer and blacksmith and I don't think his skills could be replaced, in this community.
Marlene, so sorry to hear of Bob's passing. He was a special person. Condolences to you and all your family.
I am very sorry to learn of Bob’s passing. He was a very kind and interesting person. My condolences to his family.
I worked with Bob at Airtex Products in the Engineering Department. He was a great guy to work for. I am so sorry for your loss.
Dear Marlene and family, Our condolences on the passing of Bob. I worked with Bob at Airtex and knew him to be a very caring and highly professional comrade. Marlene and I went to school together for many years. Our sorrow at Bob's passing. Sincerely, Dave and PJ Cavanaugh
I am so sorry Marlene. Ken considered Bob to be one of his best friends. They had so many man to man conversations on our back porch in the rocking chairs. My hope is that they can pick up where they left off. Love you Marlene.
Condolences from Tallahassee. Will update my uncle, not sure if my uncle did the Mill gathering I Believe in 2019 at his 65 reunion
Our condolences are to all family and friends! Will miss our conversations and work done in the past. Long history & a lot of memories were built and appreciated.
I sat behind Bob in the 7th grade and we linked up again several years ago through Facebook. He was without any doubt the blacksmith's blacksmith and his talents with metal working were well recognized, here and in the UK. Rest In Peace, Bob, JW
I am so sorry to hear of Bob's passing. I was privileged to go through school with Bob. Bob has left a significant mark on this world. Peace. 🙏
It was a sincere pleasure knowing Mr. Smith. He will be sorely missed!
Hugs and prayers for you, Marlene.