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Gene "Smoke" Smolek

Died: Tue., Jan. 18, 2011


12:00 PM to 3:00 PM, Sat., Jan. 29, 2011
Location: - Not available -

Memorial Service

3:00 PM Sat., Jan. 29, 2011

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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 

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Joyce Whan
   Posted Sat January 22, 2011
Dear June and boys,

My prayers and thoughts are with you. "Smoke" became a dear friend of mine and Paul''s. He will be trully missed. He was such a great guy.

Sincerely, Joyce

Jerry & Jan DeLong
   Posted Sun January 23, 2011
Our thoughts & prayers are with you & your family during these trying times. Jerry & Jan DeLong

Terri Rausch
   Posted Sun January 23, 2011
June, Kent & Kevin,

Words cannot express had sad I was to hear that Gene had passed away. Although our lives have not crossed in years I will never forget Gene or you June for what you meant to me back in my young adult life.

I pray for God's comfort as you go through this season of life. Losing someone you love is difficult, but nothing can take away the treasured memories you will always have.


Sue (Studebaker) Brumbaugh
   Posted Mon January 24, 2011
I worked with Gene on the shipping docks at Kraft Foods. Thoughts of him bring back memories of working with Gene. He will be missed.

Kirk Sabrosky
   Posted Sat January 29, 2011
June, Kevin & Kent,
I has been a whole bunch of years but I wanted you to know that Gene left his footprint in my life as well as many others. I can remember his smirky smile, his cocked ballcap, and his quick wit.
I remember like it was yesterday when Gene helped with boyscouts!! Kev, do you remember when he taught us to make a pipe out of an acorn and a reed? If I remember correctly, one of us got a little green around the gills.
Oh, the memories. Cherish them well.
God's peace and blessings to you.
Love to All,

Diane Leighty
   Posted Wed February 02, 2011
June, I am sorry to hear that Gene passed away. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
God be with you.
With Sympathy,

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