Richard C. Smelser

July 19, 1935 ~ August 28, 2019 (age 84)


Richard Smelser, 84, of Lakeland, FL, passed away from natural causes on August 28, 2019. He was born July 19, 1935, in Hazel Park, Michigan to Winfred Smelser and Mary Jane Sampson.

He attended Walled Lake High School, graduating in 1954, then joined the U.S. Air Force and while stationed in San Antonio, met his first wife Virginia Ellison of Corvallis, OR. He would continue his time in the Air Force with stops in Cheyenne, WY, Indianapolis, IN and Stuttgart, Germany.

After his service in the Air Force, Richard and Virginia moved to Corvallis, Oregon, where he attended Oregon State University, graduating in Elementary Education in June, 1962. Their son Jack was born in Corvallis in 1958. After graduation from Oregon State University, they moved to Richard’s home state of Michigan. Their twin sons Bruce and Bill were born in August, 1962.

He taught Elementary Education in the Walled Lake School System for 26 years.

While working at Dublin, he met his 2nd wife, Marge Scott, who was the secretary at Walled Lake Western High School. They were married in 1979 and continued their marriage for 40 years, until she preceded him in death in March, 2019.

After their first “retirement”, they bought a 34 foot motor home and travelled the United States for 5 years 1987-1992.

They settled in Lakeland, FL, buying a brand new home in the Sandpiper Golf & Country Club. He would go back to substitute teaching with Lakeland schools for 5 years, until his final retirement in 1997.

Richard is preceded in death by his wife Marge Scott Smelser (2019), his brother Charles (2002), and his sister Winnie (2017). He is survived by his brother Bob of Hiram, GA, as well as 3 sons, Jack of Indianapolis, IN, Bruce of Grantville, GA and Bill of Alpharetta, GA. Also, his stepson Scott Hogan of Lakeland and step-daughter Debbie Wilbur of Bradenton, FL.

Richard will be interred in the columbarium, First United Methodist Church ~ Lake Morton, alongside his wife Marge. They loved this church as a second home, where they both sang in, and organized their church choir for 15 years.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 21, 10:00 a.m., at First United Methodist Church - Lake Morton, Lakeland, FL. Family will gather at 9:30 a.m., and interment will follow in the columbarium at 11 a.m...

To send flowers to Richard's family, please visit our floral section.


September 21, 2019

10:00 AM
First United Methodist Church of Lakeland
72 Lake Morton Drive
Lakeland, FL 33801

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