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Clifford Smith

Updated: May 20

The ancient book of Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die”(Eccl. 3:1-2).


Clifford Herbert Smith was born on March 24, 1922, the third of 9 children and second son of Jay and Lottie Smith. Cliff, as he was known to many, or Clifford, as he was called by his wife of 66 years, Madelyn, passed away February 20, 2021 A.D.


“There is...a time to weep and a time to laugh...” A memorial service will be 10 am, Friday, May 21 at Fort Des Moines Open Bible Church, 1116 Army Post Road, Des Moines. A fellowship meal will be shared with family and friends at the church immediately after the memorial service.


Cliff grew up on a farm in southern Iowa, was stationed in Curacao, just off the coast of South America, during WWII as an Aviation Machinist Mate, 2nd Class, in the U.S. Navy. After the war, he married Madelyn Vaughn and settled in the small town of Leon, Iowa, where he found work to supplement the transition pay from the United States government of $20 a week. Over the next 10 years, Clifford and Madelyn had three children: Glee Ann (named after Cliff’s older brother Glee, who was killed in the Pacific in December, 1944.), Patricia, who is known as Pat, and finally, Dennis Herbert (who received his middle name from his father).


In 1965, Dad got a better job in “the big city” and so moved the family to Des Moines, Iowa. He worked for many years for the Ruan Company as a diesel mechanic, then as a shop foreman for a few years, and finally “a desk job” in the Trouble Desk department for Ruan Transport Company. After his retirement, he and his wife, Madelyn, enjoyed helping their grandkids and RVing with their friends in a fellowship known as “Campers for Christ.”


Madelyn was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease later in life, and dad settled in to help care for his wife, along with some fishing trips along the way, until Madelyn passed away in 2011. Cliff lived the remainder of his years in The Shores and Mill Pond Retirement Villages, being generously and kindly cared for by his oldest daughter, Glee Ann.


Because of the trust in Jesus Christ demonstrated by his wife, Madelyn, Cliff accepted the Lord in mid-life. He and Madelyn were faithful for many years in the fellowship of First Assembly of God, Des Moines, Iowa and the character of his life revealed his abiding faith in God.


Clifford Herbert Smith is survived by his three children, Glee Ann (Lee) Anderson of Des Moines, Pat (Dean) Turley of Warrior, Alabama, and Dennis (Deanna) Smith of Watsonville, California; 6 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren; 2 great-great-grandchildren; his sisters, Donna Murphy and Dorothy (Robert) McCreary, and his long-time friend and fishing buddy, Denny Way.


“God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Eccl. 3:11 (NIV)