Lt. Col. Gordon F. Smith, USMC, Ret., 78, of Carrier Mills, IL, passed away on October 21, 2018 in Olathe, KS. He was born on July 7, 1940 to Arthur and Lucile (Sailsbury) Smith in Ridgway, IL. Gordon grew up in Junction, IL, and graduated from Equality High School in 1958. He married his high school sweetheart, Mari Lou (Moore) Smith, who survives.
Immediately after his graduation in 1962 from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL, Gordon joined the United States Marine Corps as an officer. His stateside orders moved his small family to Quantico, VA; Camp Pendleton, CA; Camp Lejeune, NC; Ft. Belvoir, VA; Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C.; Kansas City, MO; and Norfolk Naval Base, VA. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam, earning numerous medals and commendations, including the Bronze Star with the Combat “V,” the fourth-highest award for combat bravery against an enemy force. Gordon served one year as the second-in-command at the Marine Corps base in Puerto Rico. He also served on the select security team sent to Beirut, Lebanon after the bombing of the Marine Corps barracks there in 1983. After his retirement from the Marine Corps in 1985, Gordon went on to oversee the construction of a scientific research facility in the Norfolk, VA area. He retired for good in 2001 and returned to his native Southern IL to enjoy his grandkids, restore old cars and continue transforming an old Trailways bus into a state-of-the-art RV.
Gordon’s favorite pastime was deep-sea fishing. His proximity to the ocean in his post-military years allowed him to regularly travel to Cape Hatteras, NC, where he kept his boat. Most every weekend would find him there, hauling in sea bass, tuna, mahi-mahi, and an occasional marlin (swordfish). He helped Mari Lou keep their freezer stocked with fresh fish, which they shared with friends and visiting family.
Gordon is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Mari Lou Smith, also of Carrier Mills, IL, now living in Olathe, KS; son, Mike (Sally) Smith of Olathe, KS; grandchildren Stephen Smith of Olathe, KS, Garrett (Kaitlin) Smith of Kansas City, MO, Kaitlin (Charles) Urwin of Olathe, KS, and Lauren (Jordan) Drapal of Overland Park, KS; sisters Dr. Patricia Smith, M.D. of Ridgway, IL, and Marcia (Deen) Barnett of Carmi, IL; brother-in-law Danny Potts of Harrisburg, IL; and nephews Jeff Barnett (Cheryl) of St. Louis, MO, Trent Barnett of Evansville, IN, Nathan Potts of Harrisburg, IL, and Eric Potts of Evansville, IN.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Lucile Smith of Ridgway, IL, and his sister, Marilyn (Smith) Potts of Harrisburg, IL.
The family will receive guests for visitation beginning at 10 am on Saturday, October 27 at the Vickery Funeral Chapel, Equality, IL, with the memorial service to follow at the Chapel at 1:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Gordon’s name may be given to Good Shepherd Hospice, 11267 Strang Line Rd., Lenexa, KS 66215, in gratitude for the excellent care provided by the Good Shepherd nurses during Gordon’s last illness.