Orville Gordon Smith, age 86, of Lancaster passed away peacefully on Tuesday, October 4, 2022, at Lancaster Health Services, Lancaster. He was born at home in Little Grant Township on September 15, 1936, to Herbert Merwin Smith and Gladys Alvina (Wendtlandt) Smith. Orville attended school until the eighth grade at the Bowen one room schoolhouse near his family farm. One of three sons and six daughters, he said he didn’t like school much and decided to stay home and help his dad work the farm. Orville would work the farm until 1957 and then he got a job with General Motors. In 1959 he was drafted and sent to Ft. Leonard Missouri to do his basic training before being shipped off to South Korea. He was in the service from 1959 until his honorable discharge in 1965. During his time in the service, Orville reached the rank of SP/4 and achieved second place in the First Calvary division rodeo as well as a sharpshooter medal. While in Korea he kept in constant touch with the love of his life, Carol Ann Orton and they were married on December 28, 1963. Orville would move his young family to Janesville, Wisconsin, and there they would have three children together. Orville retired from GM after 33 years of service in 1990 and at the young age of 54. He would return to Lancaster with his wife in 1994.
He was a hard-working simple man who always went out of his way to help family and friends in need. Orville loved to cook and socialize with friends and neighbors often having weekly parties in his garage. In the early years of his life, he enjoyed time on the boat with his son Mark cat fishing and he was a founding member of the Rock River Thresheree in Edgerton, Wisconsin. There Orville enjoyed threshing and taking care of his many Farmall and Oliver tractors. In his later retirement years, he often kept busy mowing lawns for his neighbors, and they would help him out in the wintertime with clearing snow from his sidewalks. Orville often said he had the best neighbors. He enjoyed a good steak often and would often treat those he was with to a nice dinner. Orville loved old style country music, shows like “Hee Haw” or the “Dukes of Hazzard”. He also enjoyed in his younger years tinkering in the garage with his son Mark on his 1955 Chevy Bel Air, 1968 Chevy Impala, 1977 Ford F150 Ranger, and the 1985 GMC Classic. Orville also teased his daughter about boys in high school and would wait up for her to make sure she got safely home even when she was in her forties and visiting during the summer. His famous quote was “nothing good happens after midnight”.
He is survived by his daughter, Michelle (George)Politis of Athens, Greece, two granddaughters, Arriana and Alexia, Sisters: Ann (Jerry) Lawrence, Linda Fiedler, Micheleyn Smith and Donna (Mark) Landon, brother-in-law, Mike Buss, sister-in-law, Joyce Smith. He also has numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his two sons, Duane Gordon, and Mark Wayne, brothers, Bernard and David, sisters, Judy Buss and Jeanne Vogt, brother-in-law, Tom Fiedler and sister-in-law, Darlene Smith.
Private family services with military honors will be held at a later date. Martin Schwartz Funeral Home & Crematory in Lancaster is assisting the family.
The family would like to extend their sincere appreciation to the staff of Lancaster Health Services and St. Croix Hospice for the exceptional care given to Orville.