NORMAN — Mr. Jesse Milton Smith died peacefully at the Gardens of Rivermont in Norman, on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. Services will be held 2 p.m., Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 at First Baptist Church, 211 W. Comanche St., Norman with the Reverend Jim Stewart officiating.
Jesse was born in Norman on Aug. 4, 1927 to Mr. Jessie Smith and Callie Jewel (Morgan) Smith. He resided in Norman all of his life except for service time in Fort Polk, La., Japan and Korea and military schools. Jesse graduated from Norman High School in 1947 where he served as vice president of both the junior and senior classes. He was selected for Boy's State in 1946 and was a member and co-captain of the football team. Jesse was a member of Who’s Who of Norman High School in 1947 and was also selected as a Junior Rotarian in 1947. Mr. Smith attended the University of Oklahoma graduating in 1955 with a BBA in Accounting. He enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard and retired 22 years later attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was employed as a full time employee of the National Guard for 15 of those 22 years. His last assignment was Commanding Officer of the 700 Support Battalion of the 45th Infantry Brigade. His foreign service was the Occupation of Japan and the Korean War after serving on active duty with the 45th Infantry Division.
After returning from active duty in 1952, he returned to Norman and married Joyce L. Hough on Sept. 1, 1952.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Joyce of 49 years on Jan. 30, 1999; and his brother, Morgan Wayne Smith. He is survived by his sons, Douglas M. Smith and wife Gretchen of Monkey Island, Okla. and Wayne L. Smith and wife Kathy of Norman; and grandchildren, Jesse James Smith of Tulsa and Morgan Grubb and husband Chance of Norman; three step grandsons, Jason, Philip and Colin; and the mother of Jesse and Morgan, Mrs. Marla Harrell.
While serving in the National Guard, Jesse attended the Basic Ordinance Officer Course, the Advanced Infantry Officer Course and the Nuclear Weapons Employment Course. After retiring from the Oklahoma National Guard, Col. Smith was employed by the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation where he served as treasurer. He retired after 27 years. He then joined the Kiwanis Club of Norman and willingly served on several of their community projects. Col. Smith was an avid believer in the concept of the citizen soldier and he was a life member of the 45th Division Association, a member of the Board of Directors of the 45th Infantry Division Museum, a member of several patriot organizations such as the American Legion, the Military Order of the World Wars, the VFW and many others.
The family requests memorials be made to the 45th Infantry Division Association Education Fund, that supports the 45th Infantry Division Museum, 2145 NE 36th St., OKC, OK 73111.
Visitation will be 1 to 8 p.m., Sunday, with the family greeting friends from 2 to 5 p.m. at Havenbrook Funeral Home, 3401 Havenbrook St., Norman.
Interment will follow in the IOOF Cemetery of Norman. Pallbearers will include Max Uhlenhake, Chris Uhlenhake, Jon Uhlenhake, Rusty Sullivan, Jason Kirby, Jesse James Smith, Chance Grubb, and Robb McDonald. Arrangements for Col. Smith and his family have been placed in the care of the Vice Family at the Havenbrook Funeral Home of Norman. Online condolences may be shared at www.havenbrookfuneralhome.com.