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Donald F. Smith Sr.

August 22, 1927 - March 2, 2023


(Notice: This is an updated service date change from original obituary published Monday, March 6).


Donald F. Smith Sr., 95, of Valley View Terrace, Belleville, passed away on Thursday, March 2, 2023 at Valley View Rehab, Belleville.


He was born on August 22, 1927, to the late John F. and Savilla (Hertzler) Smith.

He was preceded in death by Betty Smith, his beloved wife of 68 years. He is survived by his children, Donald F. (JoAnn) Smith Jr. of Reading, Mary Jo Smith of Monroeville, and Karen (Bill) Purnell, of Enola. Grandchildren Alex (Brianna) Smith, Angela (Avery) Peechatka, and Courtney, Kyle and Nicole Purnell. Great grandchildren Avalie and Oliver Smith and Quill Peechatka. His sister, Edna Chester, also survives. Numerous beloved nieces and nephews also survive.

Don was a 1945 graduate of Belleville High School.

He joined the Army in 1945 and served 3 years, of which 2 years were with the United States Constabulary Forces in Germany.

Employment included Abbott’s Dairy in Belleville, serving as Union Township manager for 15 years, then as a Dispatcher for Faylor-Middlecreek until his retirement. During his post retirement years, he continued to enjoy working as an independent contractor for a promotional advertising company.

During his tenure as Township Manager, he was instrumental in the creation and construction of a new water filtration system and the township’s sewage treatment plant.

Don was proud to state that he was the current oldest living and longest active member of St John’s Lutheran Church, Belleville.

He served many roles within the church over the years, including lay reader, President of Council, helping to prepare church dinners, and chairman of the cemetery committee for decades.

Don was a longtime member of the Kishacoquillas Gunning Club for which he enjoyed being their chief cook during deer season and on work days.

He was also a member of the Stroup-Alexander VFW Post 5935, in which he served a variety of positions through the years and assisted in planning the Memorial Day celebrations.

He was also a recipient of the Earl S. Warner Service Award for his many years of service to the VFW.

Don once served as a board member for the Area Agency on Aging and for the Lutheran Camping Corporation of Central PA.

Don was widely known throughout the Big Valley area as “Water Don”. He also shared a favorite green bean sauce recipe that became aptly known as “Don’s Green Beans” and is now served on the menu at Valley View.

Don enjoyed vegetable gardening, planting flowers, collecting old Mifflin County area postcards, reading, bingo, playing Shuffleboard, and watching the Pittsburgh Pirates and any Penn State sporting event.

He developed a green thumb for growing beautiful orchids in his Terrace apt. and proudly displayed them for residents and staff. He adapted to technology and loved playing “Words with Friends” and texting family on his tablet.

Above all else, he was a devoted son, brother, husband, father, uncle, and grandfather. He cherished spending time with his family and celebrating birthdays, confirmations, graduations, weddings and family reunions together.

He loved attending grandchildren’s activities.

In later years he traveled with his wife to the annual Constabulary reunions.

Family and friends will now be received from 10-11 a.m., Tuesday, March 14, 2023, at Valley View Haven Chapel, Belleville with the funeral service immediately following at 11 a.m. Military burial service to follow at St. John’s Lutheran Church Cemetery.

The family wishes to thank the many dedicated staff at Valley View who cared for Don these past, almost, eight years. The staff and fellow residents graced his life with friendship, fellowship, and fun.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Endowment Fund at Valley View Haven, 4702 E. Main St, Belleville.

Arrangements are under the care of Henderson Funeral Home, Belleville, PA. Online condolences may be offered at www.hendersonfuneral homes.net.

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