Howard Lee Smith, 73, of Girard, died at Sunday morning, March 4, 2018, following an auto accident on Interstate 72 near Jacksonville.
Born March 26, 1944, in Springfield, he was the son of Lewis Albert and Verna Aileen Moffett Smith. He married Janice Kay Frederick Dec. 11, 1965, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Virden. Three brothers, Terry (March 24, 1999), Michael (June 25, 2007), and Richard (March 4, 2010), preceded in death.
A 1963 graduate of Virden High School, he was a four year U.S. Air Force veteran serving in Thailand during the Viet Nam conflict. Previous to military service, he was employed by Allis Chalmers Manufacturing in Springfield. For over 40 years, he was a self-employed truck owner/operator, lastly with the Landstar Corp., and currently operated Smith Pilot Car Service, providing high pole escort services to super loads shipped by tractor-trailer.
He was a member of Virden American Post #386; Veterans of Foreign Wars; Royal Arch Masons Girard/Virden Chapter #161, where he presently served as Senior Warden; R.A.M. Girard Chapter #132; Carrollton Council #48; and Omer Commandery #30.
Surviving are his wife, Janice of Girard; a son, Tim (Debra) Smith of Humble, Tex., formerly of Virden; a daughter, Amy (Richard) McElfresh of Girard; six grandchildren, Zachary (Lisa) Allen of St. Charles, Mo., Brendon Gerdes of Mt. Pulaski, Ryon Smith of Sun City, Calif., Ashley Gerdes of Utica, Cody Smith of Glen Carbon and Connor McElfresh of Cape Girardeau, Mo.; one great-granddaughter, Paislee Elizabeth Allen; four sisters, Patricia Burke of Louisburg, Kans., Carol (Chuck) Hurley of Stella, Mo., Cathy Molen and Gail Smith, both of Taylorville; an aunt, several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Visitation will be Saturday, March 10, from 10 a.m. until time of services, 12 noon, at the Calvert and Ferry Funeral Home, Virden, with Richard McElfresh officiating. American Legion and Masonic Lodge rites will be prior to services. Burial will follow in Mechanicsburg Cemetery. Pallbearers are Tim Smith, Richard McElfresh, Zach Allen, Ryon and Cody Smith and Connor McElfresh. Honorary pallbearers are Ashley and Brendon
Gerdes, Colin McCabe and Don Bruna.
Memorials are directed to the Girard Township Library or Masonic Lodge #161, Virden.