Melvin Kenneth “Ken” Smith passed away on Saturday, July 10th at the age of 98. He was born July 29, 1922 in Kingsville, TX, the sixth of eight children born to Joe R. Smith and Lillie Mae (Cunningham).
Ken is proceeded in death by his parents; siblings, Viola Grissom, Nelda Darrow, Irene Cornelius, Vernon Smith, Wanda Jones, Victor Smith, Eunice Chase, and wife, Gladys.
Ken is survived by his wife Olga; daughter, Donna Tredway (Chuck), of Spring Branch, TX; stepson, Allen Loehner, of Montana; son, Martin Smith, of Corpus Christi; son, John Smith (Pamela) of Corpus Christi; six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Ken graduated from Henrietta King High School and followed his brother Vernon’s lead by entering the military in 1942. He achieved the Army rank of Tec 3 as a member of the 69th Infantry Division, 272nd Regiment Medical Detachment. His four years in the Army took Ken to England, France, Belgium, Germany and Holland. He made light of his time in the Army, saying he spent four years chasing after Hitler and “giving pretty English girls shots.”
After returning to the United States, Ken married Mary Jo Bishop, worked at Celanese Refining, and had his first child, Donna Jean. In the 50’s Ken remarried Gladys Moore, moved to Flour Bluff, worked for Houston Natural Gas, and spent time on the FBISD school board. Ken and Gladys moved to Annaville in 1962. Ken then worked for Hess Refinery for a short time, and later for The City of Corpus Christi Gas Division, retiring in the mid 80’s. After Gladys’ passing, Ken married Olga Campos. He spent his retirement years tending a garden full of tomatoes, working part time as a bus driver for Calallen ISD and a Hot Shot Oil Field Driver for Ace Trucking.
Ken was a social butterfly, active in the Annaville community. Ken was an avid follower of Calallen Football and Baseball; he could often be seen in the stands during the fall and spring seasons. He was a member at Mayfield Baptist Church. For many years, Ken helped with building maintenance and mowing the property. Ken loved to attend the Northwest Senior Center to visit friends and play dominos, in particular 42. He made regular trips to the bank as an outing to menace the tellers.
Ken loved his family. He spent many evenings at family gatherings with his siblings for BBQs and fish fries. As the years passed, Ken routinely called his many nieces and nephews to keep up to date on the happenings of family members, earning him a reputation as the family historian.
Memorial services will be held July 23rd at 12:30 pm at Sawyer-George Funeral Home officiated by Mayfield Baptist Church Pastor Josh Surginer. Military Honors will follow at 2 pm at the Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery. A reception for family and friends will follow at Calallen Baptist Church to share memories and trade stories.
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