On November 16, 2023, the world lost a little of its melody and humor with the passing of Veldon "Smitty" Smith. Born in Atkins, Iowa, on November 28, 1936, Smitty’s life was a beautiful composition of music, love, and unwavering optimism.
Smitty, the quintessential self-made man, left home at the tender age of 16 with a world of dreams in his heart. He sang his way through life, first as a guitarist and singer traveling with such famous musicians as Willie Nelson, and then as a truck driver, and later, as a sales representative for NAPA Auto Parts, where he and his beloved wife, Barbara, would traverse the country, turning every journey into an adventure and entertaining everyone they met.
Raised on a farm, he knew the value of hard work and resilience, but with a song in his heart, he faced every challenge with a smile and the knowledge that a better day was coming. These were the values he instilled in his children, Fred, who preceded him in death, and Kelli and Cathy, both of whom will carry him in their hearts forever.
Smitty had a knack for turning the mundane into something magical. Car rides were never just car rides. With uplifting songs and humorous anecdotes, they were journeys to remember. When Smitty worked as a radio DJ, he would dedicate "Froggie Went a Courtin’” to us kids and give us shoutouts, which made us feel like stars. With Smitty as your dad, you felt like anything was possible.
When life threw our family curveballs, as it often does, Smitty was our rock, always there with his trademark phrase, "It’ll be alright. We will get through this together." He wasn’t just saying it; he meant every word.
With his beautiful bride by his side, Smitty and Barbara were meant to be together. They were together for 53 years, and together they weathered many storms as they taught us about the strength of the human spirit. They lived by the lyrics to one of their favorite songs by Waylon Jennings that they enjoyed singing together at their 50th wedding anniversary party:
“Storms never last, do they baby? Bad times all pass with the winds. Your hand in mine stills the thunder. And you make the sun want to shine.”
With both of them in the heavens now, the sun shines a little brighter these days.
As we say goodbye to our beloved father and friend, we remember not just what he did, but who he was – a man who lived with an open heart and a song always on his lips. Rest in peace, Smitty. You’ve left us with melodies that will echo in our hearts forever, and that’s a life well-lived.