John Elmer Smith was born January 27, 1889 in Sunnyside, Lincoln County, Kansas. He was the oldest son of Josiah Smith and Eliza Fox. He was named for his father's brother, John Smith.
He was nicknamed Emo by his brothers and sisters. Elmer told his daughter, Virginia Miller, that his first memory was being in a sod house and watching a snake slither across the roof. The Wind in the Willow has other family memories about Elmer.
Mt. Carmel Sunday School Class 1905
Maggie Hupp, the teacher, is in the middle
In the back row are (from left) Grace Smith, Addie Gookin & Harriet Myers
Girls in the second row are (from left) Nellie Redlingshafer, Daisy Myers, May Schreck and Minnie Hupp
The boys are Newton Hupp (left) and Elmer Smith
Photo courtesy of Frank Myers
Mt. Carmel United Evangelical Church was in Benton Township, Lucas County, Iowa.
His sister, Twyla's first memory of him was when he and his brother, Harry stopped their father from whipping her for stealing a cookie. She said that every fall Elmer would send a big box home to Red Oak, Iowa. His sisters, Gussie and Twyla always hoped for dolls, but it always turned out to be long underwear and stockings.
I have nothing, but good memories of Uncle Elmer. He was very family oriented and came across to me as a gentle and kindly person with a sense of humor and he was somewhat of a philosopher. Uncle Elmer was very smart and the best checker player in the family.
Red Oak is the county seat of Montgomery County, Iowa.
His last occupation, listed on his death certificate, was a Pipe Fitter for Western Pipe and Steel Ship Building, but he worked at many things during his life. He always had a scheme to make some money. His worm business where he sold worms to fisherman was the last, but his son Lee remembers when
he put in a dichondra lawn and it really looked nice. [His oldest daughter] Hazel got upset with him because he decided to cut out parts of lawn and put it in trays to sell to people to get a start on their lawn.
In his later years he lived in Hawthorne, California with his daughter, Hazel. He was cheerful, loving and affectionate. He made popcorn balls with his grandchildren, drove a Chevy truck, wore a baseball hat and a bandana and shaved with a straight razor.
He died when he was 80 years old on November 30, 1969 in the Centinela Valley Community Hospital in Inglewood, California. He was buried in Section 9, Lot 50, Graves 4 & 5 at West Lawn Cemetery in Omaha, Nebraska by his wife, Emma.