ROCHELLE — Frank Smith, 80, of Rochelle passed away peacefully on Feb. 25 while holding the hand of his wife, Betsy and embraced by the prayers of many.
He was born in Rochelle on June 7, 1941, to proud parents Victor and Ellen Smith, graduated from Stillman Valley High School and lived in the surrounding farm communities his entire life.
Frank worked tirelessly for his family at Larson’s farm and Del Monte, but found his place, being his own boss, at Frank’s Goodyear in Rochelle. He had the reputation of being an honest auto mechanic with storytelling, kittens and fresh produce from his garden included for free with repair services.
When he wasn’t telling everyone else to, “stay out of trouble,” he could be found behind the wheel of any type of vehicle, with his favorite being the lawnmower. Through extensive “tinkering,” he was proud to rig several mowers together to get the job done. Gardening, with a philosophy of “the more varieties of vegetables, the better” was another enjoyable way to spend time outside.
Camping with his friends in the Kings of the Road camping club was his favorite way to spend a weekend. Sitting around a good campfire, talking the night away after a great potluck dinner, was one of his favorite pastimes. He loved the different campgrounds, and the lifelong friendships.
Rare was a time when he didn’t know the weather forecast or would pass up a good dessert. He enjoyed knocking down pins in a bowling league along with playing golf and driving the golf cart. Watching westerns was his most recent hobby and he knew them all.
In his 80 years, Frank never backed away from a cat. He loved house cats, barn cats and the cats that found a home at Frank’s Goodyear. The parts-room at the shop became a warm, safe place for stray mama cats to have kittens. He facilitated many kitten adoptions with customers or even an occasional salesman that stopped by.
His good deeds, stories and friendships are the legacy of a life well lived.
He is survived by his wife of 23 years, Betsy Smith; children: Shane (Noel) Smith, Terri (Kevin) Cork, Kelli Cotrell, Matthew (Jennifer) Smith, Jennifer (Steve) Lavoie, Emily Egeland; daughter-in-law Dawn Smith, and his sister Betty (Jason) Dietrich. Frank was the very proud grandpa to Megan, Heidi, Chris, Taylor, Christopher, Nicole, Andrew, Chandler, Kaitlyn, Hailey, Joshua, Corey, Amanda, Patrik, Jacob, Mary, Katherine, 10 great-grandchildren along with many nieces, nephews, a cuddly dog named Scotch and countless friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents: Victor and Ellen Smith; his son, Todd Smith; the mothers of his children: Carol Hermann and Susan Smith; siblings: Bob Weeks, John Weeks, Bill Weeks, Victor Smith and Anabelle Weeks.
His family will host a memorial visitation 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2 at Beverage-Lyons Family Funeral Home, 704 N 6th St. Rochelle, IL 61068. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Beverage-Lyons Family Funeral Home. Online condolences may be made at www.beveragelyonsfamilyfh.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Serenity Hospice and Home, 1658 Illinois Route 2, Oregon, IL 61061.