Marty Smoler

Lyric Ball 10

Marty Smoler

Deceased July 25, 2021


Marty Smoler was born on September 4, 1941 to Harriet and Fred Smoler in Kenosha, WI. Scholastic achievement was emphasized in the Smoler family—particularly since Harriet was one of the first women to graduate from the University of Wisconsin law school. Marty earned a B.S. and M.S. in biology from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA (with honors) from Northwestern University. He continued to be a student of business.


Marty spent his early career years at GD Searle and then the Surgikos Division of Johnson & Johnson, where he was the youngest member of the Board of Directors. He was responsible for the introduction of 120+ new products. In 1986 he became a partner at Ventures Medical where he was responsible for the creation/funding of several companies. He commercialized technology from KU Medical Center earning the largest tech transfer return in KU Med Center history. He later served on KU Med Center’s Research Institute’s Board of Directors.


In 1990 Marty founded American Echo later renamed Medical Positioning. He helped create unique products for cardiologists and radiologists. The company earned 20+ US and international patents. The Company was recognized by INC magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in America.


One of Marty’s passions was teaching and learning. He was Adjunct Faculty at Avila University teaching Entrepreneurial Leadership. But, he most enjoyed helping other entrepreneurs achieve success. He served on several Boards of Directors of companies in Kansas City. He particularly enjoyed meeting with a group of entrepreneurs monthly (The Forum Group) and discussing their business challenges. He was a mentor to several start-up companies.


Marty enjoyed getting together with his family most Sundays for lunch, traveling with friends, playing tennis and was an avid football fan—particularly the KC Chiefs. He loved being the ‘Commissioner’ of a fantasy football league, Wonderdog. He also enjoyed investing, and belonged to two investment groups and was the previous president of the Kansas City Securities Corporation.


He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Suzanne Shank, his sisters Mary-Anne Thompson (Gordon), Joyce Smoler and his brother Bill Smoler (Cinde). He was especially close to his sons Andrew Shank (Nadia) and Michael Shank and granddaughter Jordan Shank.


Marty was grateful for the wonderful medical care he received at the Mayo Clinic and at KU Med Center particularly from Mark Wetzel, MD and Mirielle El Ters, MD (transplant physician).


A Celebration of Life will be held at the Intercontinental Hotel on August 5, 2021 from 5 to 7 pm. 

Memorial Contributions

The family requests no flowers. Donations may be made in his memory to Martin Smoler Scholarship Fund, Conservatory, UMKC Foundation, 5100 Rockhill Road, K.C, Mo, 64110 or the Mayo Clinic, Department of Development, 200 1st Street, Rochester, MN 55905 or the organization of your choice.


  1. Bill Brehm on September 20, 2021 at 4:41 pm

    I just learned of Mr Smolers passing, My last visit with Marty was in April. I had no clue that he was fighting a bad illness. I always took care of his Heating and Air Conditioning Equipment at his home on the plaza. I was back today to take care of the heating and thats when I got the news, I always enjoyed and looked forward to visiting with Him. He will truely be missed. Kansas City has lost a great and outstanding individual.

  2. Cindy Lee Smoler on August 15, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    Marty was my husband Bills brother, best friend and confidant. This is a huge loss to the Smoler family. The family will not be the same without him, we will all miss him very much.
    Marty will forever live in hearts of all. RIP Marty, We love you.
    Cinde Smoler

  3. robert fallon on August 3, 2021 at 9:43 pm

    Marty and I met at the senior tennis club. We became friends and had quarterly lunches for perhaps 7 years. During that time I learned that he “worked” at Johnson & Johnson and also had invented some medical tables. Therefore, I was surprised just how many fabulous achievements he had when I read his obituary. In early July I called him and he said that some medical people were coming and he could not talk, but he stressed how much he enjoyed talking to me. Me! Basically what one might call an ordinary guy considering the list of noteworthy people who also called him. I was so lucky to have him as a friend.

  4. Jay Herson on August 1, 2021 at 7:50 pm

    I had the privilege of working with Marty during this Ventures Medical years. He was based in Kansas City but worked with several Houston biomedical startups. I was a statistical clinical trials consultant but Marty asked me to serve as a Chief Operating Officer of a startup with only three employees. There were 5 venture capitalists involved and I learned so much about the business end of startups from Marty. Marty later became friends with my KC friend, Saul, and through Saul I visited Marty and the Echo company in KC. I remember the enthusiasm with which he described his well-thought-out business plan. Marty will be missed.

  5. Caryn on August 1, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    It feels like yesterday that Suzanne donated one of her kidneys to Marty and that we celebrated their 20th anniversary. Marty and Suzanne – so glad you enjoyed another 10 years together exploring the world, donating to wonderful causes, watching the Chiefs win a Super Bowl and much more. All my love and sympathy.

  6. Diane & Howie Johnson on July 31, 2021 at 3:56 pm

    It’s been years since we last saw Marty and Suzanne. Remembering Marty, how thoughtful he was, a gentleman always. You could tell how much he and Suzanne loved each other by watching them. Our sincere condolences to you Suzanne and family. He will be missed by so many and thank God you have friends who loved you both, they will sustain you in the weeks and months ahead. Our love and prayers, Howie and Diane

  7. Teresa Walters on July 30, 2021 at 5:45 pm

    I worked for Marty for 10 years at Medical Positioning. I learned so much from him. He was the best mentor and a better friend. It’s been 15 years since that business was sold and I remained in close contact with him and our leadership team getting together for our monthly lunch outings, even virtually through the pandemic. I am deeply saddened by the loss of Marty. My condolences to Suzanne and the rest of his family.

  8. Henry L Young Jr on July 29, 2021 at 1:56 pm

    I’ve only known Mr Smoler the last few years, but In those years I found him to be kind and congenial. I will miss our talks. My sincere condolences to Suzanne and the Smoler family. I will continue to keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. Donna Brown on July 28, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    Marty was the neighbor everyone should be lucky enough to get. We bonded while our dogs played. He was such a good listener which I sometimes needed.
    I will always remember his phone would often ring a lot, but dog playtime came first, unless it was Suzanne’s ringtone. Not once did he fail to say he loved her to end the call or as she entered the elevator. Dash and I will sure miss him.

  10. Jeff Stokes on July 28, 2021 at 9:50 am

    I came to know Marty through serving with him on a Board. I so enjoyed talking with him and listening to his insight. As noted by others, he was genuinely concerned about others and being of assistance. He will be missed. May the memories of his life carry the family through grief. We will miss you

  11. Manny Greenberg on July 28, 2021 at 8:11 am

    I met Marty and Suzanne at their 10th anniversary party. Marty made you feel like an old friend immediately, warm, kind and a good listener . He was interested in your opinion whether it was right or contrary to his own. Marty had only one fault he was allergic to garlic which made having him for dinner difficult. Marty was liked and respected by all who knew him and will be missed by all who were fortunate to have been able to spend time with him.

  12. Loren Whittaker on July 27, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    The Friends of the UMKC Conservatory send our sincerest condolences to Suzanne and to Marty’s family. Marty was a true friend to the Conservatory, and the positive impact of his legacy will continue.

  13. Erica and Tim Gonzales on July 27, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    Marty was a true gentleman. He was kind, thoughtful, and brilliant. He loved learning about others and was always asking questions. He had a zest for life, and lived each day with excitement. He was deeply loved and will be deeply missed. Out thoughts and prayers are with Suzanne and his family.

  14. John Rufenacht & Richard Lara on July 27, 2021 at 1:28 pm

    Only knew Marty in the last several years. His energy and commitment to living long and to remain interested in all the life around him was a great honor to observe and be a part of. Our most blessed condolences to Suzanne and his family and other friends who will miss him greatly and where empowered by his strength and friendship.

  15. Dave McDowell on July 27, 2021 at 8:43 am

    Marty was one of the brightest, kindest and most helpful individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of calling a friend. He was sincere about helping any and all of us through whatever challenges we faced. I was a member of The Forum group that Marty was also a member of. He was an excellent mentor but an even better friend and person. RIP Marty. I’ll miss you.

    • Kathy Nordhus on July 28, 2021 at 3:10 pm

      My heart goes out to you Suzanne and Marty‘s entire family . I am so sorry for your loss. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. What an amazing and accomplished man. ❤️

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