WICHITA — Robert Wendell Smith, son of Gertrude Virginia Strong-Russell and Robert Galloway Smith, died Feb. 2 at the Robert J. Dole Veterans Center in Wichita. He was born Nov. 7, 1945, in Great Bend.
Survivors include a brother, Preston Zeller Russell, Pea Ridge, Ark.; a son, Robert Strong Smith, Lawrence; two daughters, Jessica Nicolet Smith, Wichita, and Adrienne Moore Clem, San Francisco, Calif.; and two granddaughters, Madeline Amour Mason and Alexandria Elizabeth Heck, both of Wichita.
He was an airborne Army engineer with the 101st "Screaming Eagles" from July 1969 until January 1972, and saw combat action during the Vietnam War. After the war, he returned to Kansas where he completed his Bachelor of Science degree in geology at Wichita State University. He went on to become an accomplished geologist — first, as a hard rock geologist, working in gold and uranium exploration, in Colorado and Utah, and then as a petroleum geologist in Kansas for 30 years.
Robert was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and of the American Legion. His passions were science fiction novels, crossword puzzles, alternative fuels, the study of natural rock formation and all things scientific, modern and technical. Robert was a beloved father, grandfather, friend, husband, brother and son. Robert’s unique perspective, challenging intelligence and dry sense of humor will be missed by many.
Memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Resthaven Mortuary in Wichita, with burial to follow at Winfield Veterans Cemetery. Donations can be made in his name to the Cambodian de-mining organization at www.cambodianselfhelpdemining.org. Condolences may be offered at www.resthavenmortuary-cemetery.com.
Funeral arrangements provided by
11800 W. Hwy 54
Wichita, KS 67209
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Feb. 4, 2011