Ron Smith – Fan of Year

Ron Smith was one of those quiet gentle souls who seems to float through high school without making any waves. I’ve often wondered what happened to him. Everyone knew who he was, but I don’t think many people, including me, could say they knew him.

I shot him at a basketball tournament at Houck Field House on Feb. 27, 1967.

This photo ran in the March 1 Missourian with the caption, “Fan of the Year: You see him at every sporting event, whether it be baseball, basketball, football, track, or even swimming. It makes no difference whether it’s high school, college, or junior high. Ron Smith (shown holding radio), a junior at Central High School, was recently presented the “fan of the year” award by State College’s Varsity Club.

Ron Smith died November 8

Judy Kurre Ringwald passed on the sad news that Ron died Nov. 8, 2012.

Here is his obituary from the Nov. 11 Missourian: Ronald Roy Smith, 63, of Belleview, Mo., passed away Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, at Belleview Valley Nursing Home. He was a longtime nursing home resident, having spent most of his time at Belleview Valley Nursing Home where he was loved by staff and residents.

He was born November 13, 1948, in Cape Girardeau, Mo., to Roy and Hulda Vasterling Smith. He was a graduate of Cape Girardeau Central High School and a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau. In his teens, he was an avid sports fan, following local high school and college teams and the Capahas. Smith especially loved the St. Louis Cardinals and didn’t miss listening to or watching most of their games.

Loving survivors include one sister, Rosalee (Everett) Plunk of Cape Girardeau; one brother, Ray (Linda) Smith of Scott City; nieces and nephews, Marla (Maury) Taylor, Crystal (Justin) Smith both of Cape Girardeau, Mike (Nancy) Plunk of Lake St. Louis, Mo., Kim (Brad) Schiwitz of Frisco, Tex., Ray (Brittney) Smith of Jackson; great-nieces and nephews, Christina (Lee) Dodd, Haley and Hayden Dodd all of Scott City, Jennifer Boren of Lake St. Louis, Mo., Mackenzie and Mason Smith of Jackson, and Elizabeth Smith of Cape Girardeau. He was preceded in death by his parents.

It must have been a slow game

When you look at your film and see pictures of fans like Ron and Notre Dame Cheerleader Cathy, you can surmise that the action must have been pretty slow. If you haven’t bagged something at least half-way interesting by the end of the first quarter, you start looking around for sports feature shots. (As always, you can click on any shot to make it larger.)

Yep, pretty dull

I can see why I was looking for features. This was about the best action I had from the game.

22 Replies to “Ron Smith – Fan of Year”

  1. Ron lived across the street from Capaha Park by the Statue of Liberty on West End Blvd. His Dad sold fire equipment and drove a bright red Plymouth station wagon. He was a gentle soul. Ron used to hang around the pool where I guarded at Capaha park and several times when we had our cars would go this Bill Bishop and myself to Wimpy’s and around. Ron was always around the pool and hung out with various groups

  2. I remember Ron and his father Roy. They would come to the Pladium when it was just a billiard parlor. Roy was known for being able to hold a whole rack of pool balls (15) in his hands. Ron was a big hearted guy who never met a stranger and knew almost everyone. He was also an avid sports enthusiast.

  3. I remember Ron from back in the days at Central. He was at about every ball game there was. He was quite and never bother anybody. Ron will be sadly missed by all of us that knew him.

  4. Very sorry to hear that Ron has joined his ancestors.

    That was a wonderful analysis of Ron’s personality. I must admit I had forgotten about him as well. He was a very friendly kid and always had a smile ready. Very easygoing and non aggressive. I’ll have to look up his picture in the year book and see what he looked like from a frontal view.

    Now this was really a blast from the past Ken. Thanks a lot.

  5. Ken, I used to feel your pain. These days basketball action seems to be much more intense, especially with full-court pressure.

    That’s good because now we publish online photo galleries and are not limited to just one or two action shots for print only.

    Even the basketball fans are entertaining with their antics and cheers, so feature shots of them can be taken in short order.

    Then there are games where the fans are not in the game, but might be more into their electronic devices. That’s when any action beats a feature at a game.

    I shot a girls game last night that illustrates my points, except for bored fans. It was the first time the Chaffee girls won their own invitational tournament.

    1. It’s a lot easier to shoot sports action with digital cameras that bump film speeds into the stratosphere. Gyms in SE MO were dark, and you were lucky to be able to push Tri-X to around 1200. Some places you were forced to sit under the hoops with a strobe shooting nothing but armpit photos.

      I made the mistake in Ohio of shooting the whole gamut of feature photos in one of the first games of the season: winning coach, losing coach, winning cheerleaders, losing cheerleaders, officials, crowd, etc. etc.

      The sports editor was so excited to have something different to work with he ran almost the whole take. Sure put me in a bind for the rest of the season. I never made that mistake again. I learned to dole out my standby cliche shots over the whole season.

  6. Well said, Ken. I remember both father and son, two interesting characters that were threads in the fabric of Cape Girardeau life back in the day.

  7. I use to wave to Ron if he was sitting out on the front steps of his home on N. West End Blvd. I really didn’t know him that well but he would come over to Capaha Park and watch us play baseball.
    One day a group led by one of the more popular guys in school was picking on Ron as he sit in the grandstand. He was enjoying the attention but they were making fun of him. He didn’t understand. I picked up a bat and more than suggested that they leave Ron alone, which they did. That didn’t make me too popular but I would do it again but maybe with a little more tact. At the time it really bothered me. I guess kids will be kids but I would like to think we have learned to be a little more kind to those who may be a little different.

  8. Well hello from and Ex employee…I worked around the same time and Mike Stoval and Dennis Bowen at the rides in the park…probably the first job I had. One the big perts was $.05 hot dog…
    Thanks for the opportunity!
    I could even run the Ferris Wheel which not all the guys would run after the chain broke downtown one time…good memories.

  9. Ron used to come to our practices at SEMO and games week after week 40+ years ago (1967-1971 for me) asking the football players how they were, would we win, were we hurt etc. He was always welcome. I remember him as a gentle soul who was always nice and always well informed in the sports world. I have often wondered what happened to him and now I know. God bless you Ron and you will be remembered.

  10. Yes folks, Ron was one of a kind, My friend Jim Grebing and I used to go to a lot of games at Central, and SEMO. We even made a trip to Murry Ky. with Ray Owen to watch a basketball game. A lot of people made fun of Ron, but he was a lot of fun, and REALLY knew his sports facts. I can say that I always had a great time at the games with him, and he will be sadly missed.

  11. I too have fond memories of Ron. Living only 2 blocks from Capaha my days were spent playing baseball, basketball or swimming. Ron would always be around to join in or just watch. A gentler soul could not be found, Never a harsh word about anyone. Simply in pleasures he was as true a sports fan as you could find, be it Tigers, Indians or bulldogs. By the way the basketball pic has L to R- David Halter – Alan Zeigler- Greg Flaker and Larry Job. One of ND’s toughest and best basketball teams the Tigers ever faced and all great guys too. My thoughts and prayers to Rons friends and family.

  12. Sorry to hear of Ron’s passing. I lived on the corner of northeast corner of West End and Broadway, two doors away from the Smith’s. I used to throw the football around with Ron and his brother Ray in the area behind the Statue of Liberty. I fondly remember fall in the park, kids playing football and the smell of burning leaves–a bygone staple of the season.

  13. I knew Ron in 1977 . I went to SEMO 1973 .1974 . I went to Central High in 1957 . my mom Sara Marguerite Winters worked at the Cape paper in the 30s . Jim Werner , Amarillo Texas .

  14. I played football at SEMO 1970 – 73 ! Ron was at every sporting event on campus! He was a carrying gentle soul , I would always talk to him about our team during those years! RIP brother Ron ! David Means!

  15. I lived at the corner of West End and Broadway, next door to the Smith. I remember well many falls throwing the football with Ron and Ray under the changing leaves of Capaha Park

  16. I am Ron’s niece and I love reading all the memories and kind words about Ron. He was a wonderful man. I enjoyed going to visit with him. We would pick him up for all family gatherings and take him home. My favorite memories are of celebrating Christmas with him.

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