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Robert Forest "Bob" Smithey

Pine Bluff, AR, 1943 - 2023

Robert Forest Smithey, September 28th, 1943 – February 1st, 2023
An obituary is nearly impossible to write when the head and heart refuse to accept the past tense, but here goes:
For those of us lucky enough to have been paying attention, Bob Smithey showed us what love looks like. Acts of kindness above and beyond the expected were his norm, acts of service on a level beyond that even more so. His life was well-lived, -loved and -fought from a place of true dedication to God and fellow man. Once he considered you a friend, there was nothing he wouldn't do to help and always considered it his honor to do so.
A lifelong Pine Bluffian, his love for his hometown and its residents was evidenced first in his work with the Pine Bluff Boys' Club (a place he loved so dear he actually moved in for while), and ultimately his choice to spend more than 50 years in agency with State Farm here. His love for God and First Baptist Church led to his service as a deacon and then as trustee, one of his greatest honors in life.
His time away from Pine Bluff was only to play football for and graduate from UAM in 1968, and then serve his country in the United States Marine Corps at Parris Island then Camp Lejeune, where he earned a Rifle Marksman Badge. His strength of faith in God was only matched with the strength gained from his time in the military. He would be disappointed if I didn't say here, "Once a Marine, Always a Marine. Semper Fi and Oo-Rah!"
As an insurance agent in a small town, he thought nothing of calls at home, all hours of the day or night, from those seeking his help and guidance. He never hesitated to leave his family to help another when called…even the birth of his only child! He considered agency his true calling and honor and did it with unrivaled patience and compassion, and spoke with a deep knowledge and understanding of the industry. Even when that knowledge far surpassed our comprehension, he made great efforts to explain, because he loved what he did and the people he did it for.
His 56-year marriage to his high school sweetheart and soulmate, Anne, is described as a love and partnership that is almost fictional, fairy-tale perfection by all who knew them. Within their inner circle, we know those rumors as fact. A beautifully balanced pair of personalities that gave strength to and brought out the absolute best in each other, and those they considered family. For that's what their friends were and are: family.
Part of that family was best known to us as "The Golf Group". The group referred to themselves as "The Layin' Down Dogs" and traveled and golfed together across the country for more than three decades. Those are some of the greatest stories perhaps best told by someone other than his daughter, but are easy to find if you just ask. I'll be happy to give you some names.
His 41 years as a father were the absolute best of this writer's life. He was the ultimate "Girl Dad" and it's too bad social media wasn't around far earlier to document (he would disagree with me about the social media…and he'd probably be right—again). He was the absolute most fun to be around and nothing made me happier than seeing the joy on his face when my husband and I made him a grandfather. I have no doubt that he was called home to God, in part, because God needed to hear his laugh. Bob Smithey's laugh was the most enthusiastic, vibrant, joyful sound. You couldn't hear it and not smile, or more likely, laugh too. Even if you missed the punchline, which he would happily and immediately include you in, because he'd want you to laugh too.
He was met in Heaven by those that went home before him, his father (John Robert Smithey) and mother (Mary Smithey Hill), and his mother-in-law (Jodel Standley).
He will be missed most by his wife, Anne; daughter, Adrianne Bennett; son-in-law, Stephen Bennett; grandson, Robert Gavin Bennett of Little Rock; brother John Smithey, and his wife Janice of Pine Bluff; nieces, Heather Hilner (Mark), Erin Bruton (John) of Nashville, Tenn.; brother-in law, Larry Standley (Sheila) of Sherwood; nephews, Clayton Standley of Monticello; Daniel Standley (Mandy) of Cabot; their mother, Carolyn Baughman of Monticello; and seven great-nieces and nephews, Joshua, Daniel and Jill Hilner, Tucker and Katie Standley, and Sloane and Chloe Standley. We know we will see him again.
A memorial service will be 2 p.m. Thursday, February 9, 2023, at First Baptist Church with Reverend Kenneth Thornton officiating followed by military honors. Visitation will be 1 p.m. until service time Thursday afternoon at First Baptist Church.
Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, 6501 S. Hazel Street, Pine Bluff, Ark. 71603.
Online register: www.RalphRobinsonandSon.com

Published February 7, 2023

OBITUARY SUBMITTED BY:
Ralph Robinson & Son
807 South Cherry Street, P.O. Box 5254, Pine Bluff, AR
Phone: 870-534-3131

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