Obit: Orval Smith, 91, Custer.

January 19, 2015
Orval Smith

Orval Smith

Orval W. Smith, aged 91 lifelong resident of Custer, passed away on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital following a brief illness.  Orval was born on September 7, 1923 in Custer, the son of Lloyd R. and Waneta Smith and graduated from Custer High School with the class of 1941.  He served his country during World War II with the U.S. Army in the European-African-Middle Eastern Theatre as a heavy truck driver.  Orval literally drove across Europe as a member of Company B, 312 Combat Engineer Battalion, “Golden Acorn” Division, engaged in many battles such as the Battle of the Bulge in Ardennes, Luxemburg, Czechoslovakia, and throughout Central Europe and was awarded the Purple Heart and 3 Bronze Stars.  Upon his discharge, Orval returned home and married Ila M. Price on October 16, 1948 at the home of Rev. Frederick Stewart, and they have celebrated 66 blessed years together.

Orval was very active in his community.  He was a Charter and Life member of the Custer Gold Bar VFW Post 5096, Past Commander, and a faithful member and mentor of the Post Honor Guard.  He was a member of the Custer Fire Department for over 50 years, the longest serving member of the department, was a former councilman of the Custer Village Council, and volunteered every fall at the West Michigan Old Engine Club operating the Fire Engine Soda Pumper when the club hosted children from the local schools.   He employed at W. Reader & Sons in Scottville before working at Harbison-Walker in Ludington for over 30 years, retiring in 1988.  Orval loved to bowl, and when he wasn’t bowling, he could often be found playing a game of setback with his friends at the VFW in Custer, or the Optimist Hall in Scottville.  In his younger days, he also enjoyed hunting and fishing around Mason County.

Orval will be greatly missed by his wife Ila, his daughter Diane Loree Smith of Ludington, his son Duane Kevin Smith of Custer, his sisters-in-law RuthAnn (Curtiss) Berndt of Freesoil, and Rosalie Price of Ludington, many nieces and nephews, and numerous friends throughout the community.  Orval was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Lorraine Hinzman, and his brother LaVerl “Pete” Smith.

Friends may meet with Oval’s family for a time of visitation on Saturday, January 24 from 2:00 – 4:00 pm at the Stephens Funeral Home in Scottville.  A graveside funeral ceremony with honor rites performed by the Custer VFW Post and the Custer Fire Department will be held at Riverside Cemetery in the spring.

Those who wish to make contributions in Orval’s memory are asked to consider the Custer Gold Bar VFW Post 5096, or the Custer Fire Department.

Please visit Orval’s memory page at to leave a tribute of Orval for his family, or to light a candle in his memory.

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