Hundreds honor Smith at services

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:18 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

The laughter of about 400 friends, firefighters and family members echoed throughout the Olivet Christian Church on Monday as they exchanged memories of Willis Smith, longtime Boone County Fire Protection District board member.

Jim Smith, his cousin, recalled when a young Smith, nicknamed “Buddy,” said “hello” to a cousin on a radio show and followed it up with the revving of his motorbike.

After the playing of “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes, close friends, including fire Chief Steve Paulsell, recalled the man he viewed as a father figure. “He was a man of strong conviction about a lot of things,” Paulsell said.

Other speakers such as Dennis Swearngin, pastor of the Olivet Christian Church, pointed to Smiths’s talent and hard work.

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