Willis Dale Smith, 80, of Poplar Bluff, MO, passed away Thursday, May 11, 2023, at Poplar Bluff, MO. He was born in Silva, MO, February 16, 1943, to parents Garrett L. and Velva A. (Allen) Smith.
Willis was a devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend but first and foremost he was a man of God and servant of Christ. He married the love of his life, Patricia Gray, September 5, 1964, and they were blessed with two sons. Willis proudly served in the United States Air Force. He was of the Baptist faith, he was called to preach and preached his first sermon June 3, 1964. He pastored many churches in the surrounding area. Willis was also a schoolteacher and school bus driver. He was very kind and soft spoken and touched many lives through the years, teaching school and through his ministry. He taught English and History. Willis loved to study history, especially American, Biblical, and Civil War history. He was constantly reading the Bible and books, learning all he could. He loved the challenge of hunting, muzzle loading, bow hunting, and fishing, however, his greatest love was preaching and attending church. Willis enjoyed football and baseball, going to Cardinal baseball games, and watching them on television. He earned a Bachelor of Science at Southeast State University in Cape Girardeau, while working full time, pastoring a church, and raising a family. Willis enjoyed traveling over the country with his wife and family, visiting many places and seeing many sites. He was well read, well spoken, and well-traveled.
He is preceded in death by both his parents. Willis is survived by his loving best friend and wife of fifty-eight years; sons: Wesley Smith and wife Ginger of Jackson, Eric Smith and wife Marie of Jackson; grandchildren: Kala Verble and fiancé Mike Rushin, Britni Murray and husband Paden, Alexis Musgrave and husband Anthony, Jacob Smith and fiancé Tessa Mangels, Megan Smith and fiancé Zack Huber, twelve great-grandchildren; brothers: Cecil Smith and wife Barbara Ravenden, AR, Rodger Smith and wife Claudia of Fredericktown, Garry Smith and wife Judy of Poplar Bluff; sister: Shirley Crutchfield of Poplar Bluff, Norma Trapp of Grandin; many nieces, nephews, cousins, and his companion, his dog, Sammy. Willis will be greatly missed by his family, friends, community and was greatly loved.
Visitation was held at 5:00 pm, Sunday, May 14, 2023, at New Hope General Baptist Church, Silva, MO. Funeral service was held at 12:00 noon, Monday, May 15, 2023, also at New Hope General Baptist Church. Bro. Dan Ross and Bro. Louie Robinson ministered to the family. Pastor Wayne Page read the obituary. Music was provided by Gary Long and pianist Sandy Ross. Burial was in New Liberty Cemetery, Piedmont. Online condolences can be made at www.rueggfuneralhomes.com