Obituary of Kenneth Smith
Kenneth Wayne Smith, 77, of Caldwell, ID passed away, on Thursday, December 27, 2018 with his significant other, Sheila Stone by his side.
Ken was born on Sunday, October 12, 1941; the first of three siblings, born to John Smith and Patricia Tapke Smith. Ken was followed by his sister, Rita Cheruka and brother, John Smith. He was born at Fort Jay (Governors Island), NY and graduated from Atlantic City High School in Atlantic City, NJ. Ken played football, basketball and baseball during his youth and carried his love of sports with him throughout his life. His father was enlisted in the Army, so his family lived a nomadic life and Ken described himself as an Army brat. The family lived in Fort Jay, NY; Fort Bragg, NC; and Fort Lewis, WA as well as other locations. His mother was born in Manila, Philippines. After high school, Ken worked odd jobs and attended college at American University in Washington, DC before choosing to enlist in the Air Force on February 14, 1962. He served 8 years in the Air Force completing two tours in Vietnam and one in Thailand, before being Honorably Discharged on December 24, 1969. Ken's rank was Staff Sergeant when he separated from the Air Force and he held the job of Auto Track Radar Repairman. He earned the National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal and the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon while enlisted. His last post was at Mountain Home Air Force Base, prior to enrolling at Boise State University where he studied Business and Accounting. Prior to completing his studies, Ken earned a job at IBM selling typewriters and other products. Ken transitioned to selling insurance in Caldwell where his first job was with Jack Cline. He had a long career in insurance sales and was currently an independent agent with Post Insurance Services. From selling typewriters and office supplies to selling insurance, Ken was always a salesman and never met a stranger.
Ken met and married College of Idaho student, Karen (Stanton) McCulloch while he was stationed at the Wilder radar base, which was a part of Mountain Home Air Force Base. They were married on June 4, 1967 and were blessed with three children: Marc, Jeff and Jamey.
Ken loved to coach youth sports and did so in Caldwell for over 35 years. He coached youth football, in the Exchange Club league for most of those years, with Kerry Vink, but also coached baseball, basketball and golf. He loved to invest his time in youth sports because he loved to work with children. Seeing them get excited about and improve at a sport was one of his passions. He also used sports as a vehicle to give kids in difficult situations an opportunity to think about and focus on something other than their challenges. He often picked up players from the labor camp in Caldwell and was known to pay for many players registration fees as well. Ken's coaching style was "Old School," but he was a teddy bear on the inside, when not barking instructions from the sideline. He loved to follow Caldwell High School's football program and the players he had coached. When Ken wasn't coaching, you'd often find him on the golf course as golf was another of his long-time passions. He competed in local tournaments and leagues nearly every year and also had regular golf outings with friends almost weekly. If you asked Ken to help you with your swing on hole one, you'd likely find yourself in an 18-hole lesson that could carry to the range after the round. He loved to coach and teach and if you gave him the opportunity, he'd find a way to help you. Ken coached his three sons in almost every sport they played and if one of his boys had a game, you could find him in the stands when he wasn't coaching. Ken's investment in children extended to his monthly donations to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Shriners Hospitals for Children.
When Ken and Karen's marriage dissolved, Ken began a relationship with Sheila Stone that lasted until his untimely passing. They loved to travel together, taking trips to White Bird and Riggins, ID; Jack Pot, NV; Las Vegas and the coast. They were regulars at Orphan Annie’s Bar and Grill on most Friday nights and rarely missed a meal together unless it was tax season for Sheila. Ken and Sheila were inseparable and shared a long loving relationship. He also had a special relationship with Sheila’s sister, Marilyn.
Ken loved his grandchildren dearly. He was proud of Carson’s drive in academics and teased that Emma got her “good looks” from him. You could often find him on the ballfield watching, Isaiah and Riley. He also supported Sydney on the soccer field and Kelsey at her dance recitals. He was ever so proud when his granddaughters, Anna and Kelsey, expressed an interest in learning to play golf and he and Kelsey shared “golfing dates” once a week together all of last summer.
Ken is survived by his love, Sheila Stone; younger brother, John Smith; son, Marc (Tracy) Smith and their children, Carson and Emma Smith; son, Jamey (Erin) Smith and their children, Sydney and Kelsey Smith; Jeff’s children, Isaiah, Riley and Anna Smith and Sheila’s sister, Marilyn Easteppe as well as his nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents, John and Patricia Smith; sister, Rita Cheruka and his son, Jeff Smith.
A Celebration of Life will be held for Ken on Monday, January 7, 2019 at 3:00 pm at the United Methodist Church in Caldwell, 824 E Logan St, Caldwell, ID 83605. Memorials in Ken's name may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or Shriners Hospitals for Children.