Robert (Bob) Smith

Bob Smith

Robert (Bob) Smith died in Kansas City, MO from complications of Covid-19 on February 28 at the age of 86.  Bob is survived by his wife of 64 years, Loretta, his sister Nancy LaPella in Phoenixville, PA, his children Karen Ladner in Frederick, MD,  Randall Smith in Tampa, FL and Charisse Konrady in Riverside, MO, his grandchildren Brittany Smith in Ledgewood, NJ, David Ladner in Hanover, MD, Bryan Smith in Woburn, MA, Kevin Ladner in Baltimore, MD and Dan Smith in Tampa, FL. 

Bob served in the US Air Force as a radar technician and then graduated with a forestry degree from Michigan State University.  He worked in the US Forest Service in OR, was a sales representative for Ansul Chemical in WI, became a marketing director for Allied Chemical in NY, then owned a forestry supply company, TSI Industries in NJ, sold his company, and ended his varied career selling commercial real estate for Century 21 and then Remax in NJ.  

In addition to his family, he loved nature, trees, birds, trains, his cats, and baseball.  He was also fascinated by the universe and astronomy and believed that all of mankind was connected to the universe and a greater power.  He was a unique, open-minded individual who loved science and dreamed of possibilities not considered by the average person.   He was most proud of his baseball/softball accomplishments.   He played on several senior traveling softball teams which competed in the senior Olympics winning several medals.  Nicknamed E.T. By his teammates, he played shortstop and was often the clean-up hitter.   He played lastly with the Kansas City Antiques until age 84. 


A private virtual memorial service will be held in March.   

Memorial Contributions

Instead of flowers, donations may be sent to The Wounded Warrior Project.  The website address is




  1. Nancy LaPella on March 8, 2021 at 2:46 pm

    My brother Bob was 13 when I was born. He joined the Air Force when I was 5 – he was my hero as his laugh and infectious personality was evident back then too. As a big brother I looked up to him and he always made me laugh – nicknamed me ‘banana nose’ when I was 4! I was awestruck as a kid when he showed me the giant snapping turtle he caught from Lake Lefferts behind our house in Matawan-loved his UFO stories from Air Force experience until the present-he was so smart, I never saw him not smiling, his life was incredible with amazing Loretta and fantastic kids and grandchildren. His love of baseball and trains we get from my father who, If it weren’t for the Great Depression was headed for a pro team back then. He worked as a rail engineer 43 years until he died in 1967. Bob was one unique and fascinating man and we all will miss him dearly. He has joined that universe that has been his passion and I know he’s watching over us.

  2. Rob & Ana Hernandez on March 8, 2021 at 9:41 am

    Dear Karen, we are so sorry for your loss. I had the honor to meet your dad. He was a good man full of energy and always laughing. I know that he would be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Loretta, Randy, Charisse and all the grandkids.

  3. Elaine and Marc on March 3, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    From my childhood memories of Karen’s dad he was always smiling and I was fascinated by his belief that the world held more wonders then just what we were taught in school. Earth flags and freeze dried ice cream were a new experience for me. He will be sorely missed by his friends and family. Also an amazing dancer we couldn’t keep up with him at David’s wedding .

  4. Debby Burgess on March 3, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    My husband, Pete and I, have known Bob for a few years. From the very first conversation, Pete was in awe of his vast knowledge of the universe and world. Together, they explored theories and history…….He was one of my favorite friends: whimsical, smiling, enthusiastic, and always searching out new ideas and theories. What a joy to be around and he made me, after Pete died, feel so welcome to the home. I enjoyed his comments about life; his impressions of society, his life experiences and his love of baseball and trains. Never dull, always exciting, his personality was delightful, and full of great intelligence. What a dear friend, I will miss him terribly; especially as life brings so many changes. He would put a twist on incidents that took away the fear and apprehensions of life experiences. He was bigger than life; and his thoughts larger than the cosmic.

  5. Bryan Hagen on March 3, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    The reality of this pandemic becomes even more cruel when the virus takes someone who brings so much joy to this world. Today our family lost one of those people, Uncle Bob. There was not a moment spent with Uncle Bob where we were not smiling. From shooting blow darts in his living room, the epic unveiling of the “Flag of the Earth”, to his stories from the Air Force, tales of extra-terrestrial life, sitting with him on the morning of our wedding hearing his theories on life being nothing more than energy, learning about his athletic feats and playing catch with Ashton in Karen and Gary’s backyard. When Dos Equis aired their “Most Interesting Man in the World” commercials they clearly cast the wrong person, Uncle Bob was the Most Interesting Man in the World.

    Uncle Bob was someone we feel so fortunate to have known. He challenged conventional thinking in a way that was non-threatening and fun. He did it with a smile and his trademark laugh, but he forced you to think because he was so smart and researched. Everyone should be so lucky to have someone in their life that challenges you to think about everything in different way and for us that person was Uncle Bob.

    Uncle Bob meant so much to my Grandparents. They loved traveling with Loretta and Bob. When they returned, Grandpa would always roll his eyes when relaying Bob’s latest theories like how the Aztec Pyramids were really built by aliens. However, you knew that Grandma and Grandpa genuinely enjoyed the time they spent together. It also meant the world to Grandpa to know that his baby sister was so loved and happy.

    To Loretta, Karen, Randy, Charisse, Gary, Zendrie, Brittany, Bryan, David, Kevin, and Dan we send you all our love and our thanks for sharing Uncle Bob with us. We hope that your memories of him, the stories he shared and the unforgettable laugh that you hear in your head every time you think of him will bring you comfort in this difficult time. We will be flying our “Flag of the Earth” at half-mast in honor of Uncle Bob.

  6. Karen Ladner on March 3, 2021 at 9:22 am

    I am deeply saddened to say that my father, Bob Smith at the age of 86, has lost his battle with Covid-19. It is so hard to believe that less than a month ago, he was still exercising and using the treadmill daily. I will always cherish my memories of him and will remember most his animation, great smile and laugh. He passed down his love of nature, birds, trees, travel and baseball to me. He graduated Michigan State University with a forestry degree, so he was always showing us how to identify trees by their leaves. My favorite was the Tulip tree because the leaves are shaped like Tulips. He was very proud of playing in Senior softball leagues until he was 85. He was on a traveling team, participated in the senior Olympics and won numerous gold medals. Nicknamed E.T. by his teammates, for reasons noted below, he often played shortstop and batted clean up. His last team was the Kansas City Antiques and he often had to be a pinch runner because he was one of the few who could still run the bases. My Dad was a very unique individual who was fascinated by the universe, UFOs and aliens. Most houses in the 1970s flew an American flag. My Dad had an Earth flag because he wanted to let the aliens know what planet they had reached in case they were in the vicinity. He was always looking up at the sky searching for UFOs and later analyzing chem trails from planes. Driving with him could be nerve-wracking as he looked at the sky more than the road he was traveling. He loved Star Wars and Star Trek and I always thought it was a shame he didn’t become an astronaut. He had a very short stint as a Sunday School teacher. He tried teaching bible stories in the traditional way, but when the kids were bored he offered alternative theories like maybe the Red Sea was parted by a space ship with a powerful laser! The kids got him a can of nuts for Christmas! He subscribed to a lot of theories in his life, so one thing I gained from him is the ability to keep an open mind and consider other alternatives. The traditional idea of Heaven is too tame for my Dad – his idea of heaven would be his spirit cruising around the universe, or existing in a parallel or higher dimension (think The Matrix) or lastly reincarnation. In fact the day he met Gary, he claimed that he had, in a previous life, been an Indian at Custer’s Last Stand and that he remembered it vividly. Gary married me anyway! So if his chosen path is reincarnation, watch out world for he will be baaack! I love you Dad and will miss you greatly as you were certainly one of a kind. Thank you all so much for your thoughts, prayers and supportive messages. They have helped us tremendously during this difficult time.

Leave a Comment

Obituaries & Condolences

Shirley Faye McFarland

Deborah J. Puhr

Clifford William Doherty, Jr.

Vicki Bruner Louvier

Patricia Ann Kuehn

John McClain

Jennifer Marie Adriano

Timothy J. Trusler

Esther Brown Atha Giffin

Paula Ann VanDeBerghe

James “Jim” Harden

ElizaBeth Ann Doleshal