Wayne Smith

Obituary of Wayne A. Smith

Wayne Allen Smith passed away peacefully on May 29th, 2024 surrounded by his friends and family. He successfully met his goal to live to 85 years of age- and did so with spirit, love, and humor. Funeral services will be held at Armstrong Chapel, 5125 Drake Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45243 on June 8th starting at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Madeira Schools Foundation (https://madeiraschoolsfoundation.org/index.php/ways-to-give/). Wayne was born on January 4th, 1939 to his parents Everard ‘Smitty’ and Ruth Smith (nee Newby). With his little brother Don, the two grew up in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area as third generation Cincinnatians. He was proud of where he was from and would gleam with joy when reminiscing about his childhood adventures such as: picking coins out of Ault Park fountains, carrying Don on his shoulders over train tracks on their way to school, or drag racing cars on Columbia-Tusculum Parkway. Wayne’s love for his home was reflected all throughout his life as a devoted community member to the City of Madeira, volunteering as a football coach and as director of the Madeira Schools Foundation. Stepping on the football field undoubtedly shaped the course of Wayne’s life. As the starting defensive end for the Withrow High School Tigers, he quickly found success and a lifelong passion for the sport of football. Perhaps his most memorable and defining experience of his youth was being crowned the Withrow High School homecoming king. Wayne’s talent and grit in football secured him a scholarship to play at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio as #86 (preceded by a brief stint at the University of Idaho). The years on the Miami football team was a transformative experience for Wayne, granting him lifelong memories and friends. Even in some of his simplest life habits, the impact of Miami football was there. For instance, Wayne always preferred to drink large glasses of milk filled with ice. This odd habit was developed by the reprieve he found during the sweltering two-a-day football practices by drinking milk from the cafeteria that was so cold that ice crystals would form in his glass (the milk was usually accompanied with a few Oreos) . The second but equally transformative event Wayne found at Miami University was meeting his beloved wife of sixty-one years, Pat. “I’m practicing for Spring Break!” were the first words Wayne exchanged with Pat after she inquired as to why a football player was walking around campus in shorts and t-shirt in a late winter snowstorm. Whether this event was premeditated or improvised by Wayne is unknown, but regardless it was his quick wit and humor that captured the attention of Patty. This meeting was the start of a loving relationship for the rest of his life. Wayne and Pat were married in January, 1963 in Cleveland, Ohio. Matching Wayne’s bold and audacious approach to life, their wedding occurred in the middle of a Cleveland snow storm. Some of Wayne’s friends made the trip up to the wedding- this dedication to their friendship would last throughout Wayne’s life, with many familiar faces dutifully keeping him company in his later months. Matching his business acumen and work ethic, Wayne and Patty’s honeymoon consisted of a one night stay at the Howard Johnson Hotel in Columbus. Wayne’s life early in marriage accelerated rather quickly after that. After graduating college, he started working for General Electric and living back in Cincinnati. His first child Kellie was born in August of 1964, and then followed by his son Chip born in September, 1966. Upon gaining quick promotion at the Stearns & Foster mattress company, Wayne was forced to move his young family across the country to Longmeadow, Massachusetts and then to Birmingham, Michigan. These transitions were taxing and Wayne’s work duties in sales required him to be on the road throughout the week. However a common theme emerged throughout Wayne’s transitions: wherever his family went, their social circle of friends continued to grow alongside gaining new, lasting interests like skiing, bowling, and golf. Wayne was a hard worker and tactful businessman. Because of these talents, his company sponsored him to attend the executive MBA program at Harvard Business School where he was elected commencement speaker by his peers. With this hard work and success, Wayne eventually secured his life and family back in his hometown of Cincinnati. During these years living in Madeira, Wayne saw his children flourish and grow into young adults. Wayne brimmed with joy at the memories he had living in his community and raising his children. With and without his consent, Wayne’s home served as a halfway house for many creatures across the animal kingdom, with each pet having a personality as unique as his - particularly the famous racoon, Gomer. He coached Madeira High School football, golfed endlessly at Kenwood Country Club, and leaned into his love for clothing and fashion. Wayne was fortunate enough to experience the marriages of his children to beloved spouses- Kellie to Rick, and Chip to Dori. He also witnessed his children start successful careers with Kellie working as an Internal Medicine physician in Cincinnati, and Chip following in the footsteps of his dad as a salesman of medical devices in Pennsylvania. Indeed, Kellie and Chip gained the sharp intellect and warm presence of their father. In time, Wayne’s family grew again with well timed and well balanced pairs of grandchildren! Ben and Matt, and Laine and Emily enriched their grandad’s life in boundless ways. Likewise, Wayne enriched their lives with memories and experiences big and small. Skiing adventures out west and borderline perilous sledding outings at Kenwood. Enjoying slow summer days with his grandchildren at the pool and sharing his simple love for root beer in a frosty mug with Oreos. For bonus points, Wayne got to have a fifth grandchild, Erik, and experienced the joys of grandparenting a child all over again. Wayne had a diverse career as a businessman, having worked for General Electric, Colgate Palmolive, Stearns & Foster, WB Meier, Ferno-Washington, and the Sheakley Group. Wayne knew exactly what made him happy and embraced it fully throughout his retirement. He kept simple pleasures in washing his own cars, stewarding his belongings with cleanliness and care, and quietly expanding his seemingly boundless knowledge of the world through consistent trips to the Madeira Public Library. Of course, his life adventures continued through retirement. Wayne loved trips to Colorado to see his brother Don and sister in-law Sue, and his nephews and niece Nathan, Brandon, and Kelsey. Even as his body slowed, Wayne was able to have rich, novel experiences through these trips, all thanks to his brother Don and Don’s family. Camping, rock hunting, fly fishing, and learning from his brother with that same, characteristic Smith intellect and humor. Wayne’s spirit and love of life perpetually glowed into his elder years. Despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Wayne’s quiet determination and inherent cheerfulness kept him in forward motion. No matter the difficulty of a situation, such as a doctor’s visit or a day of particularly uncooperative legs, Wayne was able to ameliorate these difficulties with humor and spirit. His effortless ability to light up a room with a joke or a warm exchange with complete strangers kept him light on his feet. It was this exact presence Wayne emanated that lessened the load on his caregivers, no matter the circumstance. His life in his final years tracked perfectly to the essence of his character: he surrounded himself with friends and family whom he loved, and they loved him back.

Memorial Service

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Saturday, June 8, 2024
Armstrong Chapel UMC
5125 Drake Rd.
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
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