Ralph Frederick Smith, 97
Funeral services for Ralph F. Smith of Belmond, formerly of Thornton, will be 11:00 a.m., Monday, July 9, 2018, at the Retz Funeral Home in Thornton with Pastor John Tunnicliff officiating. Burial will be in the Pleasant View Cemetery, Thornton. Visitation will be Sunday from 4-6 p.m. at Retz Funeral Home in Thornton.
Ralph Frederick Smith, age 97, passed away Monday, July 2, 2018 at the Rehabilitation Center of Belmond. Ralph was born September 10, 1920 in Williams, Iowa, Hardin County and was the son of Edwin and Ruby (New) Smith. He was educated in the country school system. Ralph entered the Army on December 30, 1942 where he served as a ball turret gunner on a B-17 named the Homesick Angel. He served in air offensives in the Europe, Normandy, Northern France, and Rhineland Campaigns completing 52 successful missions. He flew on D-Day as the Allies invaded France. For this he was awarded a Diploma of Recognition to the American Soldiers Engaged in the Battle of the Disembarkation and Liberation from the country of France. He also received 4 Bronze Stars and a Distinguished Flying Cross.
Ralph married Frances Timm on April 7, 1950, in Brownton, MN. To this union two daughters were born. He farmed west of Thornton for most of his life. He was a long time member of the Board of the Farmers Cooperative at Thornton. He was a lifetime member of the Iowa Cutting Horse Association and was inducted into the Iowa Cutting Horse Association Hall of Fame in 1999. He was able to go on an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. on September 17, 2011.
Ralph is survived by his loving daughters, Barbara (Leon) Sheets of Ionia and Betty (Bryan) Schmitt of Cresco. He has 4 grandchildren: Jarrod (Melissa) Sheets, Justina (Boyd) Durr, Eric (Heidi) Schmitt, and Adam Schmitt. His 4 great grandchildren are Keegan Crawford, Kipp Sheets, Catherine Durr, and Renee Durr. He is also survived by a brother Bill Smith and a sister Lucretia Howd.
Ralph was preceded in death by his wife Frances, brothers Ernest, Vernard, and Russell, and sister Doris.
Memorials may be directed to Winnebago Honor Flight, Republic Community Church, Howard County Special Needs Association, or to the family.
Arrangements are entrusted to Retz Funeral Home, 107 N. 2nd St. Thornton, Iowa 50479. www.retzfh.com 641-892-4241