Rexton Ralph Smith

  Age 93, born in Lansing on May 25, 1919, died May 7, 2013; son of Ralph Rexton and Wilhemina (Cetus) Smith. He was a member of Central United Methodist Church; a graduate of Lansing Central HS, and Lansing Business University.

Rexton spent two years in the Army during WWII, including 18 months in the European Theatre as a heavy-mortar gunner in the 90th Division (the “Tough Hombres”) of General George Patton’s Third Army. He was in numerous major battles, including the Allied invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge; Rex was awarded five Bronze Stars, a Silver Star, and a Purple Heart during his service to his country. Upon discharge from the service, Rex started his own business, owning and operating Crest Cleaners & Laundry until 1973.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Ruth Elizabeth (Balcam) Smith. Surviving are 2 daughters, Judith K. Smith and Barbara (Frederick) Stabley; 2 sons, Kenneth (Kristin) Smith and Jeffrey (Christy) Smith; 8 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Helen (Maurice) Branch; and 2 nephews and 2 nieces.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, May 11, 2013, at Central United Methodist Church, 215 N. Capitol Ave, with The Rev. Ronald Brooks officiating. The family will receive friends in the Church Library from 1:00 p.m. until service time on Saturday. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Central United Methodist Church or the Disabled American Veterans.

Special thanks to all staff members at Ingham County Medical Care Facility for their extraordinary kind and loving care in the final years of Rex’s journey home.

Rex told us that the loss of his wife in 2004 was a struggle ten times tougher than any battle he ever fought in WWII. And so, Godspeed to our quiet, humble hero, as he and the love of his life are now reunited, Forever and a Day.

Arrangements by Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel.

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6 Messages to “Rexton Ralph Smith

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Laura Clark Roumpz
May 8, 2013 at 9:07 am

Jeff and Family,

I was so sorry to hear of your loss. After reading about your father, I cannot help but think that he is a peace with your mother, what a wonderful man your father must have been.

Thinking of you…


Bob Purosky
May 8, 2013 at 10:36 am

My condolences. I work with Jeff at ABEM.

Carla S Long
May 9, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Jeff and family,

What a wonderful man your father must have been and the stories he must have had to tell. He was a hero in so many ways. Please find comfort in the fact that he now with the love of his life.

Sheila Van Voorhis Rynbrandt
May 9, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Judy, I am sorry to read of your father’s death. I remember he and your mother very fondly through our many years growing up at Mayflower Church together. They were wonderful people. I am sorry that I will be out of town this weekend for Mothers Day and will be unable to attend the service. I am praying for The Lord to comfort you and give you peace as you face life without your father.


Therese Dawe
May 10, 2013 at 1:09 am

Rex and Ruth were an inspiration to all of us in the neighborhood. He was a gentleman through and through and I considered it an honor to have him as a friend and neighbor. Rest in peace with your dear heart beside you Rex.

Jim & Jeanne Butler
May 11, 2013 at 8:35 am

Jeff, Christy, and family. Our condolences to all of you. We always enjoyed visiting with Rex and Ruth. Rex was a man of strong principles who like others of the Greatest Generation was shaped by the Depression and World War II. A gentleman, and while he was strong and decisive, it was Ruth who was his beacon. We hope you will take solace in knowing they are together once again.


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