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Fort Sill National Cemetery
Elgin, Comanche County, Oklahoma

Submitted by: Ann Weber

© Whinery-Huddleston Funeral Service
6210 NW Cache Road
Lawton, OK 73505
(permission granted)

Ronald "Ronnie" Clifton Smith, Sr.

January 12, 1949 - June 17, 2017

Ronald ("Ronnie") Clifton Smith, Sr. was born to Marlin C. and Bette Jo (Spearman) Smith in Cushing, OK on January 12, 1949. He joined Jesus and many friends and loved ones in Heaven on June 17, 2017, after a brief but mighty battle with cancer.
Visitation will be held Wednesday, June 21, 2017 from 9am to 5pm in the Whinery-Huddleston Chapel and Thursday, June 22, 2017 from 3pm-7pm in the Whinery-Huddleston Chapel. Funeral services will be held Friday, June 23, 2017 at 11am at First Baptist Church, 501 SW "B" Ave, Lawton. Interment will immediately follow at Fort Sill National Cemetery, Elgin, under direction of Whinery-Huddleston Funeral Service.
Ronnie attended grade school at Lincoln Elementary in Lawton, and often talked about being a shoe-shine boy in downtown Lawton in the 1950's. He would use his shoe-shine earnings to buy a Pepsi on the way to school and would use the rest to help his mother buy groceries. He continued junior high and high school in Moore, OK when his father moved after the passing of Ronnie's mother, Bette Jo, when he was only about 12. Ronnie enlisted in the US Army in July 1966 at the age of 17 after convincing his father to sign to allow it, and Ronnie completed basic training at Fort Polk, LA. Ronnie turned 18 after arriving in the country of Vietnam where he served in the 1st Cav Division for 18 months as a radio operator and recon Sergeant. For his duty in the A-Shau Valley, he was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, the Gallantry Cross with Silver Star, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Air Medal, Bronze Star, Republic of Vietnam Campaign, Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal. For his total time spent in Vietnam, he received 3 overseas bars. After an honorable discharge from the Army in 1969, Ronnie continued to serve in the Army Reserves until 1972, and worked as a brick mason working on many homes in the Lawton and Cache areas. He also worked as a delivery driver for 7-UP/RC Bottling and Fairmont Milk before being hired on the Lawton Police Department (LPD) in September 1974.
Ronnie worked in just about every division of the police department and served the department and community for 37 years before retiring as the Chief of Police in 2012 after seven years in that position. He stared in 1974 as a patrolman, was promoted to Master Officer, Lieutenant and Captain, and also worked in the Special Operations as a detective, in the Criminal Investigations Division (C.I.D.) as detective, Patrol Lieutenant, Patrol Captain, Deputy Chief of Police, then Chief of Police. He served as the Tactical Team Commander and attended bomb technician training in Huntsville, AL to become one of the department's first bomb technicians. He also attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA, graduating in the 184th session in 1996. He was proud of the good men and women of the PD, many whom have been lifelong friends, and was also proud of all that was accomplished by the PD for the community, much that takes place without ever being seen or heard. He loved to participate or assist with so many events, such as the Cops 'n Kids Picnic, Citizens on Patrol Academy, Shop with a Cop, Moonlight Walk Against Drugs, etc. While working at the PD, Ronnie held various security jobs around Lawton, such as at multiple Herb's Food Stores (Herb's #14 is where he and Nikki met), K-Mart, Comanche County Memorial Hospital, Dillard's and Sutherland's.
Ronnie married Nikki Elise Epperson in 1989, and just as they did everything else as a team, they built their "forever home" together in east Lawton in 2003 that Nikki designed, and they performed much of the work themselves, with Ronnie installing all 5,000 feet of electrical wiring in the two-story home himself. He could build or fix anything and was often to be found helping family or friends do just that. After retiring from the PD in 2012, Ronnie joined the Comanche County Sheriff's Department to continue to help and serve his community and surrounding areas until becoming too ill just before the time of his death. He was so ready to be healed so he could go 10-8 again. He had served a total of 43 years in law enforcement, and was truly a protector and servant. Many people have said he was their hero, but he would just say that he’s no hero, just a helper.
Ronnie also co-founded the Valley View Volunteer Fire Department on the east side of Lawton and was the Assistant Chief. He always helped to coordinate their annual chili fundraiser, and cooked many, many roasters full of chili himself (and peeled potatoes quicker than three other people combined to make steak fries for the chili dinners). He recently assisted with the build of the Valley View Fire Station, even while undergoing cancer treatments.
Ronnie will be missed by many but kept in the hearts of even more. He is survived by wife, Nikki; son, Ronnie, Jr and wife Kelly, and their daughters, Payton and Aubree of Lawton; son, Justin and wife Stephanie and their children, Braxton, Bexley and Maverick of Yukon, OK; son, John and daughters, Chelsea, Ashley and Shelby of Edmond, OK; daughter, Amanda and husband Cory White and their children, Dylan, McKenna, Izzie and Addox of Corsicana, TX; sister, Sandra Marline and her daughter, Lisa of Lawton; sister, Sheila and husband Craig Fraley and their children, Larry Oliver and Sandy Cross of Lawton; grandsons, Greg, Jr and Joshua of Lawton; mother-in-law, Barbara Epperson of Cache, OK; brother-in-law, Ethan Epperson and children, Remington and Presley of Lawton; and a host of special cousins, aunts and uncles, and many friends as close as family.
Ronnie was preceded in death by his parents, Marlin and Bette Jo Smith; son, Greg; newborn grandson, Asa; special friend, Fred Baltierra; and his unconditional canine best friend, Spaz, who passed the same day as grandbaby, Asa.
All the care, prayers and concern for Ronnie throughout his treatments are greatly appreciated by his family and loved ones, and in particular the personalized attention from Dr. Vernon (Mike) Love, and the doctors and staff at the cancer Center of Southwest Oklahoma in Lawton, Ken’s Pharmacy, and Dr. Richard Brittingham/Aspire Hospice and LeeAnn at Heritage Pharmacy.
Ronnie never met a stranger and has a helping hand (and his tools!) ready for anyone around him that needed help. The world has lost a great American and human being so Nikki and his family will be lost, but they know Heaven has gained an angel standing by and ready to assist.

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