Steven Eugene Smith, 66, of Elwood, passed away Wednesday, February 17, 2021, in Anderson. He was born August 24, 1954, the son of Horace N. and Vera C. (Dilling) Smith.
Steve married Kathy K. Kimes on August 24, 1974. They are the proud and loving parents of three children and nine grandchildren. Steve cherished his family and any mention of his grandchildren always brought a big smile to his face. He loved to travel with his wife and family, take them to Purdue ballgames and spoil the grandchildren with ice cream and tractor rides.
Steve is a 1972 graduate of Hagerstown High School. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Agriculture, with Distinction, from Purdue University, in December 1975. In 2009, Purdue University presented Steve with the Distinguished Agriculture Alumni Award. He has also served on the Purdue University Dean of Agriculture Advisory Board.
Steve was the Senior Director of Agriculture at Red Gold, Inc, the world's largest privately held tomato canner. He dedicated nearly 32 years of service to the company. In this position, he directed all agricultural activities from tomato variety development through harvesting. In addition to his production responsibilities, he was involved in the company's agricultural public policy endeavors. He participated in the Farm Bill development, co-chaired Red Gold's Sustainability Initiative, was the longest serving member of the Indiana Agricultural Advisory Board, and served as a board member for Fieldwatch, Inc. Steve was the founder and chairman of the Save Our Crops Coalition. He was also active in other industry endeavors, such as the American Fruit and Vegetable Processors and Growers Coalition, Mid America Food Processors Association, the Sysco Corporation National Sustainability Advisory Board, and a former member of the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee. Steve was named the H.D Brown Person of the Year in 2015, by the Mid America Food Processors Association. He was also selected as the 2020 Indiana Certified Crop Adviser of the Year.
Steve enjoyed small farming activities and working on his Allis Chalmers hobby tractors. He piloted a private plane for over 40 years, served as an active member of Liberty Friends Church, and was an avid Purdue fan. He and his family hosted three International Exchange Students and enjoyed the opportunity to travel to other parts of the world to renew those ties. Every year since high school, Steve made mission trips to Native American reservations, where he worked to improve living conditions and social conditions of the Native American.
Steve is survived by his wife of 46 years, Kathy; children Amy (Brandon) Dennis, Renee (Harlon) Dunham and Kyle (Kristin) Smith; grandchildren, Hannah, Ethan and Caleb Dennis, Naomi Haynes, Lucy and Sydney Dunham, and Grace, Ephraim and Quentin Smith; brothers, Max (Anne) Smith, Larry (Donna) Smith and Darrell Smith.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a grandson, Landon Dunham; and an angel baby grandchild.
Arrangements are entrusted to the Fairmount Chapel of Armes-Hunt Funeral Home. Visitation will be held on Tuesday, February 23, from 2:00pm until 7:00pm. The funeral will be held on Wednesday, February 24 at 10:00am, with Pastor Clay Davis officiating. Both services will be held at Liberty Friends Church, 1008 W. 800 S, Fairmount. Burial will take place Wednesday, February 24 at 2:00pm, at the Nettle Creek Cemetery, Hagerstown, Indiana.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to Kickapoo Friends Center, P. O. Box 570, 332118 E 1070 Rd, McLoud, OK 74851
Memories and condolences may be shared at www.armeshuntfuneralhome.com
"Steve and his family was such a good host-family for our son Richard in the year 1997/98. We visited the family in that time and the whole family gave us a warm welcome. We had an excellent time in Indiana. Later Steve and Kathy visited us in Switzerland - the last time in octobre 2019. We had so much fun together - especially on our excursion to the mountain Schilthorn - Piz Gloria. We are so sad now. Thank you that we could join the service. We feel with Kathy and the family. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Love Karl and Maria Blindenbacher, Switzerland"
"I'm so very sorry to hear about Steve. My thoughts and prayers are with Kathy and the rest of the family. Steve always had a great and ready smile and I have many fond memories of him. Sally McCracken"
"Remembering Steve with love and admiration for his leadership and dedication to his family, and to his church family. The Smith Family holds a special place in our hearts, and we are so blessed by your friendship, so many good memories! Love to all.
Dennis and Anne"
"Very few people have the span of influence that Steve possessed - one that crossed states and even countries. Thanks for your friendship, professionalism, and passion for our industry. We will miss seeing you in the tomato fields of California this summer. Our sincerest condolences to Steve's family. "
"Steve was a great person who wasn't afraid to give the little guy a chance. He was always wonderfully supportive and will be sorely missed. "
"We were shocked when we saw about Steve Smith. We dismissed the article when we found the address as Elwood. but on reading down further we saw a name that was familiar. We are so very sorry for all the family. We send our deepest sympathy and prayers for all."
"Renee and entire family, so sorry for your loss"
"My deepest sympathies to Steve?s family and to his colleagues. He will be greatly missed.
Craig Musselman "
"I always saw Steve with a smile on his face and enjoyed catching up with him each year at California Processing Tomato Conference. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. "