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Family Owned & Operated Since 1902
314 Church St. | P.O. Box 12
Stevensville, Montana, 59870
Phone 406-777-5711 | Fax 406-777-0181
Email: whitesittfh@gmail.com

Johnny Smith

Died: Thu., Jun. 3, 2021


Graveside Service

10:30 AM Fri., Jun. 25, 2021
Location: Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery


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Missoula - Johnny Frank Smith, Ret. Lieutenant US Navy, 82 years old, Missoula passed away Thursday, June 3, 2021 at the Bitterroot Living Center in Stevensville. He was born February 12th, 1939 in Clawson, Texas to Rada Lee and Earline Smith. He attended Central High School and then the Lon Morris Jr College before joining the Navy. In March of 1972 he received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of West Florida. He was a helicopter pilot and served in Vietnam, flying in several combat and recovery missions. He also served on the on the USS Coral Sea. He was awarded the Naval Commendation Medal for a mission to rescue crew members of a Liberian freightliner that had run aground in rough seas on Pratas Reef in the South China Sea on November 7, 1967. He was also awarded the Navy Achievement Medal. He retired from the Navy May 1, 1975. After the Navy, he went to work for the State of Idaho in Bois, Idaho as a computer programmer. After retirement from the State of Idaho, he went on to start his on commercial ammunition reloading business called SEL Enterprises based out of Idaho City, Idaho. A final retirement and he settled in on a houseboat on Lake Pend Oreille at Hope, Idaho. He spent several years on the houseboat entertaining family and friends. After his houseboat days he built 2 homes and a shop in Clark Fork Idaho. Finally, settling in Montana to be close to family. He is survived by sister, Betty Gilley, Texas; son, Jeff Smith and wife Monica, Hamilton; daughter Deedie Hereford and husband Bill, Missoula; granddaughter, Jena Corrigan and husband Brantly, Missoula; granddaughter, Lindsey Miller and husband Charlie, Missoula. He was fondly nicknamed “Big Papa John” by his 6 Great-Grandchildren, Nathan, Kadence, Noelynn, Nova, Kali, and Ellie. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother, Leon Smith, brother, Billy Smith, sister, Linda Burkhalter and his oldest son, Johnny Frank Smith Jr. He will be laid to rest on Friday, June 25, 2021 at the Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery in Missoula.

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