ALLIANCE - Roland C. "Rollie" Smith, 87, a former Salem resident, died at 3:49 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, at the Canterbury Villa of Alliance.
He was born April 16, 1927, in Cleveland, Ohio, to the late William Henry and Minnie (Hughes) Smith.
Upon the death of his mother, Rollie relocated to an idyllic farm in New Albany in 1938 with his sister Eunice, his dad and grandparents. Rollie attended Greenford High School and like many young men of that era, enlisted in the military to assist the Allied Forces. He served in the Navy aboard the U.S.S. Wickes and the U.S.S. Cumberland Sound and assisted in the atomic bomb testing in the Bikini Atoll. After the war, he returned to school and earned his GED.
He worked for a short time at Mullins Mfg. and then secured a job that would take him to retirement 35 years later; he worked in the Forestry Division of Ohio Edison as a truck driver. He developed lifelong friendships with the members of his crew.
In 1950 he married Rosemary Jeswald of Leetonia and started fatherhood with David and Susan. When Rosemary died from injuries sustained in a car accident in 1959, Rollie was devastated.
When he met Mary Jo Gross Ford of Columbiana, he began a renewed interest in life and love. They married the following year, and the little red house on Pine Lake Road was suddenly full of big and little people Nancy and Cinda joined the family too. A few years later came baby Ken and then John who was too little to live. In the spring of 1969, quite unexpectedly, Julie, "The Last of the Mohicans" was born. Although Rollie loved all his kids, Julie held this special place in his heart.
Rollie did make time to develop many hobbies and pastimes; he hunted small game, was a champion trap shooter, rode dirt bikes and Harleys, did research on New Albany history, studied Civil War battles, collected antique shotguns, created an exhibit on coal mines for the Salem Historical Society, collected all sorts of natural history specimens, did wood working projects, including nearly 400 oak swings that are now swinging to and fro on porches all over the United States.
He was a lifelong member of the Salem Historical Society, member of the Greenford Alumni Association, and the Salem First Friends Church.
In addition to his parents, his wife, Rosemary and baby son, John, his beloved sister, Eunice Stapleton also preceded him in death.
Survivors include his wife, Mary Jo; son, David (Carol) Smith of Waltham, Mass.; daughters, Susan Smith and Julie (Rob) Crawford, all of Salem, Nancy Ford of Houston, Texas, Cinda (R.J.) Elser of Columbiana; a son, Ken of Berlin Center; a brother, Warren Smith of Cleveland; 11 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
The family would like to express their gratitude to the staffs of Blossom, Canterbury Villa, and especially the staff of Harbor Light Hospice.
Memorial contributions may be made to Harbor Light Hospice, 25 S. Main St, Munroe Falls, Ohio 44262.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at the First Friends Church with the Rev. Pete Fowler officiating. Calling hours will be held on Monday, August 18, 2014 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Stark Memorial Funeral Home. Additional calling hours will be held on Tuesday from 10 to 11 a.m. at the church prior to the services. Burial will be at Columbiana Cemetery with military services provided by the Salem Honor Guard.
Rollie's obituary may be viewed and condolences sent online at www.starkmemorial.com.