Gene ’Smoke’ Smolek
Husband, father, brother, and friend, died peacefully at home on Tuesday, January 18, 2011, after a brief battle with leukemia. He was 86 years old.
The son of the late James and Agnes (Minarik) Smolek, he was born in Churubusco, Indiana, graduated from Arcola High School and lived in Kendallville for more than sixty years.
A U.S. Navy veteran of WWII, he started a trucking business after discharge, hauling lumber and produce from the south to local markets. He married June Theresa Ross on June 1, 1951.
In the 1950’s, with his father, he opened a brick and stone yard, buying and selling products for many area homes and businesses. Later he moved into farm products, hauling grains, fertilizers, and other items for local farmers and mills. He finished his trucking career with Hudson Trucking, working out of the local Kraft Foods plant and maintaining their fleet of trailers.
An avid self taught golfer who carried a single digit handicap into his eighties, retirement led him to Noble Hawk Golf Links, where he worked and played from it’s opening until his illness.
He was also a champion horseshoe pitcher, winning his first trophy in 1946 and then as a member of the NHPA and player in a local winter league for the last twenty years.
A longtime local businessman he was a charter member of the local Kiwanis, a member of the Elks and Moose lodges, and the American Legion, supporting local business, organizations, and charities.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years June of Kendallville, two sons, Kevin and Kent and sister, Irene Burgoon of Colorado.
He was also preceded in death by his brothers George, Richard, and Arthur.
Visitation will be Saturday, January 29th from 12:00 noon until 3:00pm at Hite Funeral Home, 403 South Main Street in Kendallville with memorial servicesat 3:00pm.
Immediately following the service, the family will continue to celebrate Gene's life at the Elk's Lodge in Kendallville for family and friends to attend.
Officiating the service will be Fr. James Stoyle with members of the Smolek family eulogizing Gene and sharing memories of the past.
Military funeral honors will be conducted at the funeral home by honor guard team members of the VFW Post #2749, Kendallville and American Legion Post #381, Rome City. Flag folding ceremonies will be conducted by active duty Indiana National Guard troops from Fort Wayne.
Preferred Memorials may be made to Parkview Noble Hospice.
Honorary bearers are Brad Smolek, Brook Smolek, James Smolek, Jerry Smolek, Joe Carpenter, and Rex Smolek.
Send a Condolenceto the family or View a Video Tribute of Gene by Monday at www.hitefuneralhome.com or Find Us On Facebook.com
Arrangements entrusted to:
Hite Funeral Home – 403 South Main Street - Kendallville, Indiana 46755
Brian DeCamp: 343-8177
Andy David: 318-2712
Office Phone: 347-1653