Charles Ralland Smart (age 94), a resident of Springfield MO for the last forty years, passed away at home Saturday evening, May 26, 2018 – during the Memorial Day weekend. He was one of the few remaining WW II veterans. His wife Viola (95) and their three children, their grandchildren, great grandchildren, his niece, nephew, and extended family survive him. He was preceded in death by his four siblings.
His life started on the family farm in Windsor MO where he grew up without electricity and its conveniences, plowing the fields with the horses, pumping water from the well out back, and enjoying Saturday trips to town to sell their excess farm products, pick up supplies and have a little fun.
Charles Ralland graduated from Windsor High School in 1942 and then joined the Navy where he was trained as a diesel mechanic for which he received a Commendation Ribbon. He was assigned to Pearl Harbor and was at the scene of the West Loch explosion there in 1944 known as the “secret Pearl Harbor.” While on the rescue mission at West Loch, he was blown out of a boat into the water and then rescued by a buddy who saved his life. That day 163 died and 396 were wounded. The news of the West Loch explosion was kept a secret at the time due to the war effort. He received a Citation from the Navy for his excellent service in the face of great danger at West Loch.
After the Navy, he worked at the shoe factory in Windsor, and from there worked for the railroad. When the railroad situation went through its big changes in the early 60s, he went into insurance sales, and then on to his own investments which allowed him to retire early.
In 1962 when he entered the insurance field, he became very successful, rising through the ranks, and by 1968 became a Vice President and the Training Chief for Mid-West National Life Insurance Company. With his sales abilities he earned the use of a gold Cadillac in 1971, a major accomplishment. In 1966 he was one of the first in Sedalia MO, where he lived at the time, to own the new Ford Mustang.
His new friends and associates at Mid-West National introduced him to a new perspective on life, which led him to pursue the ideas of positive thinking and to realize the huge impact a negative attitude can have on a person’s financial situation. And so with his newly emerging positive attitude and the Bible scripture of “give and ye shall receive,” he did very well for himself in the business world.
Charles and his wife Viola just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on March 7th this year. They had a whirlwind courtship 70 years ago after “accidentally” meeting in downtown Windsor, MO in late 1947, and then married in March 1948.
Charles took his responsibility as a provider for his family very seriously. In addition to that, he could usually figure out a way to fix almost anything around the house as well as the cars or anything else. His neighbors enjoyed getting together with him and his wife. Charles and Viola were a great team to make some really yummy homemade ice cream from scratch, which family and friends enjoyed. He would buy a block of ice, crush it, and then hand crank the wonderful mixture Viola had put together in the kitchen. While eating watermelon outside on hot summer days, he taught his kids how to spit the seeds at each other and across the lawn. He liked to roughhouse with his two sons. He played catch (hard ball “burn out”) with his teenage daughter – and he could really throw a fast one.
Charles and his wife Viola provided the American “growing up” experience for their children with schooling, sports, proms, hunting, fishing, a pony, gathering the Morel mushroom, and many other opportunities. He instilled in his two sons the life skill of being able to confidently address any manner of repair and maintenance that might be needed in running a household, vehicle, or business.
It was not an easy life, but what life is? There were many ups and downs. And so we want to say that we appreciate you Charles/Dad, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all you are and all you did for all of us traveling through this life with you!
Graveside services for Charles will be at 1:00 pm Monday June 4, 2018 at Springfield National Cemetery.
Memorial donations to: (1) Oxford Health Care, (2) Meals on Wheels at Cox South Hospital. Please forward all donations to Greenlawn Funeral Home, 3540 E. Seminole, Springfield MO 65809
Online condolences may be made at greenlawnfuneralhome.com.