Gerald “Jerry” Smith, 89, of Danville, passed away peacefully on December 21, 2020, in Danville.
A graveside service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on July 29, 2021, at Sunset Memorial Park in Danville. Sunset Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Danville, Illinois, 3940 N Vermilion St. Danville, Illinois 61834 has been entrusted with arrangements.
Jerry was born in Danville to John R and Hazel (Luttrull) Smith on July 29, 1931. He grew up in Danville and graduated from Danville High School in 1949. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Marines. During the Korean War, Jerry was stationed stateside and managed a rifle range at Camp Lejeune. He earned the rank of Staff Sergeant and was awarded the National Defense Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. After his military service, Jerry had a long career at General Electric, retiring early at age 60. In retirement, he enjoyed his time as a ranger at Harrison Park Golf Course.
Jerry is preceded in death by his parents; siblings Rosemary (Smith) Bouchard, John R “Bud” Smith, and Ruth (Smith) Howie; his beloved wife of 38 years, Janice (Young) Smith; and a daughter, Vickie Smith, from his first marriage.
Jerry is survived by five children, Michael (Beth) Smith, Debbie (Steve) Todd, Craig (Maggie) Smith from his first marriage to Betty (Osborn) Walsh, and Keri (Jeff) Smith and Kimberly (Chris) Smith from his second marriage to Janice; siblings Chuck (Valerie) Smith of Danville, Delores “DeDe” Baker of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, and Camille Landers of Danville; two grandchildren, Aaron (Ambre) Todd and Jamie (Sean) Cowie; four great-grandchildren, Jenna Pratt, Austin (Savannah) Todd, Alex Todd and Sam Cowie and one great-great granddaughter, Aspen Pratt.
Jerry always said he was the luckiest to have been part of two great families with such wonderful nieces, nephews, and in-laws.
Jerry grew up during a time that builds character — the Great Depression and World War II. At the young age of 10, he began selling newspapers and delivering telegrams. The self-reliance and work ethic that he learned as a kid stayed with him throughout his life.
Jerry was a lifelong sports fan. He was an avid golfer who was able to pursue his love of the game into his mid-80s. He was always a good athlete, playing softball, horseshoes, bowling and tennis, and umpiring adult league softball games. He loved the Chicago Cubs, Fighting Illini and PGA Tour. Jerry also enjoyed good music, singing every chance he could, playing euchre, watching a romantic movie and, more than anything, laughing and joking with his family.
Memorial donations in Jerry’s name can be made to the Humane Society of Danville.
The family wishes to extend sincere thanks to the staff at Liberty Village of Danville; and especially Paula Williams, dedicated caregiver and friend who visited Jerry daily and helped keep his spirits high.
Please join Gerald’s family in sharing memories, photos, and videos on his tribute wall at www.sunsetfuneralhome.com.
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