Ralph was born in Portsmouth, Ohio on January 24, 1938, to Kenneth and Ethel (Hankins) Smith. He was a member of the Minford High School graduating class of 1956.
After graduating high school, Mr. Smith moved to Kent, Ohio to work with his cousin, Dale and there he met Joyce Pulley with whom he married on April 21st of 1960 and had three daughters, Traci, Tonia, and Trina. After fifteen years of marriage, that ended in divorce, Ralph married his second wife, Katheryn Grover on December 19th, 1975. They were married for 37 years until her death in April of 2013. Ralph worked for Gulf Oil on the Ohio turnpike for many years until taking a job with Capitol Aluminum and Glass Company in Bellevue where he retired from. He was also a volunteer fireman, and proud of it, for 35 years with the Clyde Fire Department, joining in 1965 where he worked his way up to the rank of Lieutenant before retiring in 2000.
After the death of his second wife Katy, Ralph came to Florida for ten days to visit his three daughters, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and immediately loved the place. He loved the fact that he could do year-round fishing and not have to drill a hole in the ice to get to the fish. On the last day of his visit, he found a place at Jennings Resort in Lake Wales, made an offer on it, then went home to Ohio to get ready for the move. Within three weeks of returning home and placing his house up for sale, he had it sold and was heading back to Florida. One year later, Ralph met his true love, Shirley Jean Saari. They were married on April 10th of 2016 and would have celebrated their third year of marriage, one week after his death. Theirs was a match made in heaven and God definitely had His hand in their meeting. They spent their time together with family, having cookouts and fish fries, going out to dinner with their many friends from Jennings, playing dominos, participating in the activities at their park each month, playing Bingo, fishing on Lake Pierce on their pontoon boat, traveling to visit family in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois, going to church on Sundays at Lamb of God Lutheran Church in Haines City and just enjoying the time they had together with each other. In the summer of 2018, Ralph and Shirley took an Alaskan Cruise with several friends and family members and Ralph loved showing pictures and telling stories about their trip. There was even talk about a future cruise. Ralph was also an avid hunter before giving it up two years ago. He loved going to the deer camp each November in Ohio and spending the time with his brothers, friends, nephews and grandsons.
Survivors include his wife, Shirley Jean Saari-Smith; daughters: Traci Baylon; Tonia Kanable; Trina (Carlos) Meza; all of Lake Wales, Florida; stepsons: Alan Saari; Ron (Sarah) Saari; of Wisconsin, and Jeffery (Jan) Saari of Illinois; two brothers: Bill Smith and Leonard Smith both of Ohio; brother-in-law: Dave (Karen) Tinkis of Florida; sisters-in-law: Gracie Tinkis and Beverley (Joe) Tinkis of Michigan; seventeen grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews and his fur grandbaby, Mia.
Mr. Smith was preceded in death by his parents, Ken and Ethel Smith; a brother, Jim Smith; a brother-in-law: Jim Tinkis; a sister-in-law: Audrey Coon; his stepson, Tracy Jones; and his second wife, Katy Smith.
A service is planned with Mitchell – Auxter Funeral Home, 218 S. Main St., Clyde, Ohio for May 4, 2019. Visitation with the family will be from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. with graveside service starting at 11:30 at Bakertown Cemetery, County Road 185, Clyde, Ohio. A luncheon will be held at the First United Methodist Church, 510 W. Maple Street, Clyde, Ohio at noon.
The family has asked in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Good Shepherd Hospice, 105 Arneson Avenue, Auburndale, Florida 33823 in memory of Ralph Smith.
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