Kenneth Raymond Smith, 80, of Hopkinton, passed away Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at the Good Neighbor Home in Manchester.
Visitation: 4-7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, at Leonard-Muller Funeral Home in Manchester. A Celebration of Life sharing will be at 6:30 p.m. with Mark Smith leading.
Because of COVID-19 concerns, masks are strongly recommended at both the funeral home and at the cemetery.
Private Family Graveside Funeral Service: 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, at Hopkinton City Cemetery in Hopkinton, with Rev. John Kremer officiating.
Interment: Hopkinton City Cemetery, Hopkinton.
This story is about a man whose heart was as big as his laugh, his hugs could make the worst of days better and had that twinkle in his eye that told you, you were loved.
Kenneth Raymond Smith; Kenny, Smitty, Pete, or Curly as he was often called, was born Oct. 1, 1940. He wasn’t alone when he came into this world, he so greatly loved sharing his birthday with his twin sister Katherine “Kay” (Smith) Heitz. The twin connection remained strong throughout his life, it was always Kay he wanted to share stories with or simply call to say he was thinking of her. Kenny was one of 10 children born to Clarence and Bernadette (McElmeel) Smith. Most of the time Kenny could recite in order his siblings: Janaan (Walter) Kraus, Maxine (Kenny) Zangerle, Kay (Elmer) Heitz, Gary (Marilyn) Smith, John (MaryAnn) Smith, Betty (Jerry) Ries, MaryEllen Waite, Shirley (Dick) Riniker and Mark (Mary) Smith. Kenny always talked about growing up on the farm outside Hopkinton where he learned the qualities of dairy farming, field work, and the love of training horses. Most of all, he loved the work and the play that happened on the farm with his siblings and his country neighbors. He talked about the many times he and his siblings would take the horse and buggy to a dance or when they would travel to see the Hunter cousins. Kenny was also a proud attendee of Country School where he would often be a part of pranks with his friends on teachers.
Kenny loved to dance; he was known to have several dance partners on any given night at Worthington dances. It was there that he met the love of his life, Catherine “Cathy” (Rink) Smith. He would tell his children that it was her eyes that caught his attention, he would tell his daughters that they were blessed to inherit her beautiful eyes. From the dance hall came wedding bells, they married Oct. 23, 1965. Kenny continued his passion for farming while wearing his signature bib overalls, finding the best dairy cows and only using Farmall tractors. He and Cathy farmed outside of Hopkinton and then settled on their farm outside of Buck Creek. They quickly started their family and it was there they would spend the next 40 years of their almost 55 years together. It was there that Kenny taught his children, his children’s friends, nieces, nephews and his grandchildren the meaning of hard work, commitment and loving the land he farmed. Kenny would share the early morning sunrises with his children down the barn. As you would be milking, you would catch a glimpse of him looking at the land he farmed and taking care of his cattle, it was there you could see in his eyes and felt in his heart that the land was his “home” and farming was his “church”.
He would help neighboring farmers in the community and would often be asked about opinions on dairy cows. He would spend some of his career working at the local factory of Bradco/ATI. He would wake in the morning to complete chores, go into work his shift as a sandblaster and come home and do chores again. This was a man that understood the importance of work and taking care of his family in the best way he knew how.
Kenny also taught his children the importance of family, by showing up to the weddings (and the dances), helping them move, helping them farm and showing many of them how to Two Step and the Waltz. Often his wife Cathy and his daughters would have to wait in line while the ladies would line up to dance with him. He required the least from this world to be happy as family is what mattered the most to him.
Eventually Kenny and Cathy retired to Hopkinton in 2006. Kenny took great pride in having one of his sons continue to farm on the home farm, even when he retired, he enjoyed spending time helping on the farm. Often you would see him at the Showroom helping his wife Cathy behind the scenes on busy Friday night Fish Fry’s. Kenny enjoyed being outside and began mowing lawns in town and was often found in the summer months at the Duggan Cabin taking several hours to mow a small lot, because of the endless supply of conversation and beer. He loved every minute he spent with family and friends.
He and Cathy were quick to welcome anyone in their home. If there was another person at the dinner table, he loved it. If there was another cousin or friend of his children staying over, he was always ready for a laugh. He loved having the house full and showing the “city kids” the farm life. Kenny not only enjoyed being called Dad, Uncle, Brother, Friend, he loved being called Grandpa. He relished in the activities of his grandchildren, he showed up for the plays and the baseball games and would never miss the opportunity to tell them he loved them, or that they were “kind of cute”. Everyone who was with him, felt special in some way.
Kenny loved to call his children and grandchildren, along with his wife Cathy to sing happy birthday to them. They would often share with each other the sweet message they received that they were his favorite child or grandchild, and in true Kenny fashion they would learn that they received a similar one from him as well. When he was thinking of you, he called you, when he loved you, he told you, when he didn’t like something, he told you quietly that too. He was not a man of many words, but the ones that he said were the most important ones to say.
Kenny lost his wife Oct. 2, 2020. Many people who knew Kenny and Cathy knew that they loved each other, and he made sure that he joined his wife for their 55th wedding anniversary in heaven. His family is assured that he had a beer in one hand, his wife in another and his daughter Shelia on his knee while waiting for the next waltz with his wife. Additional family members preceding him in death includes his parents, Clarence and Bernadette Smith, his sisters, Maxine Zangerle, Shirley Riniker, brother Gary Smith and son-in-law, Robert “Bob” Ronnebaum. He will forever be missed by his children and his son and daughter- in-laws that he called his children too: Kim Ronnebaum Downs (Kyle), Mike Smith (Nancy), Cory Smith, Jackie Smith Duggan (Michael), Nick Smith (Lisa) and Holly Botos (Ben). His grandchildren: Anna Ronnebaum, Ethan Ronnebaum (Lauren), Jena (special friend, Matt Finn) and Megan Downs; Zachary, Mitch, Devin and Colin Smith, Jack, Pierce and Ipper Smith, Maya and Owen Smith, Ever and Fielding Botos.
In lieu of flowers, wear some bibs, drive a tractor, drink some beer, laugh out loud, call your children just because, dance until you can’t dance anymore and love unconditionally.
Online condolences may be sent to www.leonard-mullerfh.com.