Jasper (Jack) Willis Smock, 78, of Farmington, ARK, formerly of Scotland County, MO, passed away Friday, June 29, 2018 at his home.
Jack was a 39 model, born November 24 in Baring, MO. He was educated in the one room school house in Baring, MO and worked on the family farm. In 1956 he hopped a train, armed with one sandwich and a change of clothes, and headed west to join the United States Navy. He served until 1962 on the USS McGinty(DE) aka the “Mighty McGooch” as a shipfitter, often dangling over the side maintaining the hull with a torch in hand regardless of weather, waves or knots.
He returned from the service and settled down in Omaha, Nebraska, using his many talents to open and run several successful businesses and real estate ventures. Upon retirement, he moved to Arkansas where the good riding days were more abundant and his grandchildren were close by.
When not riding, he enjoyed working in his shop repairing anything with a small engine, welding, and making metal creations by request. The radio was always tuned to classic country, and if George Jones happened to come on, you catch him tapping the toe of his cowboy boot as he worked. His shop was fun and his list of friends grew.
Jack joined the fun of competing in lawn tractor pulls with his own souped up mower with dual exhaust pipes protruding from the hood and a tweaked out engine for more power. Of course, the green machine had Jack’s trademark touches of duct tape and JB Weld, just like his cowboy boots. Competing in local events to win trophies and cash was one more thing Jack could add to his vast list of adventures.
Jack loved engines and the open road. His two passions combined, and for 50 years, his passion for riding his Harley Davidson took him all over North America, visiting friends, family, and rallies and races. His travels earned him the Iron Butt awards in the following categories: Saddle Sore 1000(1 kmiles/24hrs.) the Bun Burner 1500 (1.5k miles/36 hrs.), and Bun Burner 1500 Gold (1.5 miles/24 hrs.). He remembered the years by the color/model of the Harley he had at the time. He knew the highway numbers, mile markers, where they intersected, and the “shortest or quickest route,” in his opinion, to almost any town you could name, often providing turn by turn direction if you could keep up.
He always had a story of an old car or tractor he saw on the ride and occasionally would describe the experience like topping a hill on route 66 in Arizona, watching the entire sunset in front of him as he continued west. His eyes were his best story telling ally: unforgettable.
Preceding him in death were his parents, Oren and Bernice(Wortman) Smock and his sister, Glada.
Survivors include his wife, Jeanne Vanous Smock of the home; son, Dan (Jennifer) Smock; daughter, Debbie (Roger) Benish of Farmington, ARK; grandchildren, Justin (Marion) , Cheyenne, and Makenzie; sisters Margaret (Harlan) of Lakeland, FL and Karen Smith of Memphis; brothers, Robert (Marilyn) of Roselle, IL, Delbert (Teresa) of Council Bluffs, IA, and Ronald of Omaha, NEB; and generations of cousins, nieces and nephews.
Jack left a legacy everywhere he went. He had a quick wit coupled with what he called a “wealth of useless information,” like how many rows are in an acre, how to ride a mule backwards, kill a pet canary, what happens to a cat when treed by a coon hound, and the gestation period of farm animals and an elephant. Yes, even an elephant. When you could get him talking, you left with an education and usually a lot of laughs.
His family will miss the sound of him crooning to the radio, singing made up songs, and laughing and snoring. His sage advice about relationships, picking a spouse, and how to cook his favorite foods ( gravy, brown beans and anything made with a peach) will also be missed.
There are so many things to say about his life, that if they were all written, a novel would result.