Jack Smock was a 39 model, born November 24 in Baring, MO. He is survived by his bride, Jeanne Vanous Smock of the home; son, Dan (Jennifer) of West Fork, AR, grandkids, Justin (Marion) and Cheyenne; daughter, Debbi (Roger) of Farmington, AR, granddaughter, Makenzie; his sisters, Margaret (Harlan) of Lakeland, FL and Karen of Memphis, MO; his brothers, Robert (Marilyn) of Roselle, IL, Delbert (Teresa) of Council Bluffs, IA, and Ronald of Omaha, NE; and generations of cousins, nieces and nephews.
Jack was preceded in death by parents, Oren and Bernice (Wortman) Smock and his sister, Glada.
Jack was educated in the one room schoolhouse in Baring, MO and worked on the family farm. In 1956 he hopped a train, armed with one sandwich and a change of clothes and headed west to join the United States Navy. He served until 1962 on the USS McGinty (DE) aka the “Mighty McGooch” as a shipfitter, often dangling over the side maintaining the hull with a torch in hand regardless of the weather, waves or knots.
He returned from the service and settled down in Omaha, NE, using his many talents to open and run several successful businesses and real estate ventures. Upon retirement, he moved to Arkansas where the good riding days were more abundant and his grandchildren were close by.
When not riding, he enjoyed working in his shop repairing anything with a small engine, welding and making metal creations by request. The radio was always tuned to classic country, and if George Jones happened to come on, you could catch him tapping the toe of his cowboy boot as he worked. His shop was fun and his list of friends grew.
Jack joined the fun competing in lawn tractor pulls. He souped up his mower with dual exhaust pipes protruding from the hood and a tweaked out engine for more power. Of course the green machine had Jack’s trademark touches of duct tape and JB weld, just like the cowboy boots. Competing in local events to win trophies and cash was one more thing Jack could add to his vast life of adventures.
Jack loved engines and the open road. His two passions combined, and for 50 years, his passion for riding his Harley Davidson took him all over North America visiting friends, family, and rallies and races. His travels earned him the Iron Butt awards in the following categories: Saddle Sore 1000 (1k miles/24 hrs); the Bun Burner 1500 (1.5k miles/36 hrs) and Bun Burner 1500 Gold (1.5 miles/24 hrs).
He remembered the years by the color/model he had at the time. He knew the highway numbers, mile markers, where they intersected, and the “shortest or quickest route,” in his opinion, to almost any town you could name, often providing turn by turn direction if you could keep up.
Jack always had a story of an old car or tractor he saw on the ride and occasionally would describe the experience like topping a hill on route 66 in Arizona watching the entire sunset in front of him as he continued west. His eyes were his best storytelling ally: unforgettable.
Jack left a legacy everywhere he went. He had a quick wit coupled with what he called a “wealth of useless information,” like how many rows are in an acre, how to ride a mule backwards, kill a pet canary, what happens to a cat when treed by a coon hound, and the gestation period of farm animals and an elephant. Yes, even an elephant.
When you could get him talking, you left with an education and usually a lot of laughs. We will miss the sound of him crooning to the radio, singing made up songs, and laughing and snoring. We will miss his sage advice about relationships, picking a spouse and how to cook his favorite foods (gravy, brown beans and anything made with a peach).
There are so many things to say about his life that if they were all written, a novel would result.
Funeral services for Jack Smock were held on Thursday, July 5, 2018 in the Gerth Funeral Chapel in Memphis with the Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial Post #4958 post commander, Lloyd Erickson, officiating.
Pallbearers were Greg Smock, Robert Smock, Jerry Smock, Delbert Smock, Dave Long and Richard Clark.
Burial was in the Coffey Cemetery, south of Downing, MO, with full military gravesite rites provided by the Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial Post #4958.
Memorials were suggested to the Circle of Life Hospice of NW Arkansas.
Online condolences may be sent to the family of Jack Smock by logging onto gerthfuneralservice.com.
Arrangements were handled by Gerth Funeral Service of Memphis.