Frank & Bright Funeral Home

Bob Smith

Aug 24th, 1943 - Aug 29th, 2023

      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: