John Robert Smith, 76, of Bolivar passed away Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, peacefully at his residence.

John was born on Oct. 11, 1944, in Unionville, the son of Robert H. "Bob" Smith and Irene Williamson Smith. On John's 4th birthday, the family moved to Bolivar because of his father’s job with the newly formed Missouri Conservation Department.

John graduated from Bolivar High School, class of ’62, and attended then-Southwest Baptist College. While in school, he was active in sports, glee club, mixed chorus and school plays.

He started attending First Christian Church with his family in 1948 and was an active member during his life. John taught Sunday school, served as narrator of the Christmas Cantata and was elder emeritus at the time of his death. In his youth, he was active in the church-sponsored Boy Scout Troop 128. Inspired by his father’s leadership as a scoutmaster, John became an Eagle Scout in the class of ’59.

In the summer of 1967, he joined the U.S. Navy. After boot camp, he was sent to Naval Hospital Corps School and later sent to Field Medical Service School where he trained to be a field medic with the U.S. Marine Corps. John spent six years on active duty and was discharged in 1973. 

Following his military service, John began a career in the automobile industry where he was a salesman for 25 years. In 1999, he joined the staff of Butler Funeral Home, where he had worked during his college years prior to joining the Navy. John retired from the funeral home in October 2019.

Vacation often found John riding his Gold Wing motorcycle to Cody, Wyoming. He was a student of firearms and their history.

He was preceded in death by his parents. John was devoted to his parents, especially in their senior years.

Surviving John is his brother, Phillip L. Smith (Martha) of Hannibal; children Michael Davolt (Denise) of Nashville, Tennessee, Michelle Thornhill (Bret) of Bella Vista, Arkansas, and Grady Davolt of Columbia; niece Lora M. Smith of McKinney, Texas; nephew Gregory L. Smith of New York, New York; and grandchildren Zoey, Zaley and Ty Davolt of Nashville, Tennessee, Maddie, Mollie and Collin Thornhill of Bella Vista, Arkansas, and Colby and Parker Davolt of Columbia.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 26, at the First Christian Church in Bolivar, with Pastor Bill Nichols officiating. Burial will take place in Greenwood Cemetery following services on Friday. The family asks that those in attendance wear masks and practice social distancing. Due to COVID-19, there will be no public visitation. John had many friends in the Bolivar area, and they are invited to pay their respects and sign the register book at any time.

Pallbearers will be Michael Davolt, Ty Davolt, Gregory L. Smith, Bret Thornhill, Collin Thornhill, Gary Short, Rick Lindsay and Michael Fraser.

Memorials are suggested to the First Christian Church of Bolivar.

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