Rual Wesley Smith Jr. left our earthly company on July 19th, 2017. “Smitty” to all those who knew and loved him, was born to Rual W. Smith Sr. and Marie Everly on January 28, 1920 in Minco, Oklahoma. He was raised in Oklahoma and McPherson, Kansas. He graduated from McPherson High School in 1938.
In 1938 he enlisted in the U.S. Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment, at Camp Riley, Kansas. For the next 7 ½ years he served honorably defending freedom and fighting across North Africa, Sicily, and into Italy.
On February 4th, 1945, he married Rina Anna Minelli from Vergato, Italy. Rual and Rina had three daughters, Janet Marie (1945), Anna Cesira (1947), and Evelyn May (1949). After the war, Smitty, Rina and Janet returned to a farm outside Fayette, Missouri. He pursued a job with Boeing Aircraft in Wichita, Kansas, and eventually became employed by the U.S. Postal Service from which he retired in 1972. He and his family moved to Casper, Wyoming in 1960. During select summers, he was fortunate to transfer his postal position to Mammoth Springs outside Yellowstone National Park.
Smitty’s great passions were his family, fishing, and the outdoors. He established a family cabin at Dull Knife reservoir in the Big Horns Mountains and spent many days fishing with family in the area. He loved to fish Bates creek and bring home some Brookies for Rina to cook. After retiring from the Postal Service he was the proprietor of Rual’s Sporting Goods and Worm Ranch. He ran the worm ranch until 1972, when he fully retired and found more time for fishing and family. He traveled to Alaska and Canada to fish during his retirement. In 2000 , at the age of 80 and again in 2011 at the age of 91, he and his family made the trek up to Willow Lake to catch his favorite fish, Grayling! Anyone that has been to Willow Lake in the Bighorns know that it is not an easy spot to fish! You could always find a jar of salmon eggs in his fridge!
He is survived by Janet Distad (Eric) of Casper, Wyoming, Anna Huffman (George) of New Castle, Pennsylvania and Evelyn Alvarado (Dave) of Larkspur, Colorado, 11 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren, and 7 great-great grandchildren, all of whom he taught to fish. Smitty was preceded in death by his lovely Italian bride Rina, who departed in 2004.
A Funeral Ceremony for Rual will be held at 12:00 pm, Monday, July 24, 2017 at Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery with Military Honors. A Reception will follow at Meadow Wind Assisted Living at 1:00 p.m.
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