A Celebration of Life Service for Norman A. Smith, Jr., D.D.S., M.S., was held Saturday, June 13, 2020 at the Vineyard Church in Kansas City, Mo. Interment was at the Terrace Park Cemetery under the direction of the Terrace Park Funeral Home.
He died June 1, 2020.
Mr. Smith was born Feb. 16, 1955, to Norman Autry and Nancy (Kennedy) Smith in Purcell, Okla. He always excelled at everything he did. Early in his childhood he learned to love the outdoors, OU football and academics. He played the saxophone and football for the Purcell High School Dragons and was recognized for his leadership abilities. Like his dad, who was a state legislator, Norman was able to remember names and details about people. He made friends wherever he went.
After the family moved to Edmond, Okla., Norman graduated high school as valedictorian in 1973 and entered Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. He was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, a legacy of his maternal grandfather, John Edward Kennedy. He married Kimberly Frederich.
Norman continued his education and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Missouri – Kansas City Dental School in 1981, just a few weeks after his son, Norman Autry Smith III, was born. Norman studied endodontics at Northwestern University in Chicago then set up practice in the Kansas City area. Norman married Ilse Straub in 1989, and together they had son Spencer Kennedy Smith and daughter Haley Mabel Smith.
Norman’s life was defined by his faith, love of family and country, and passion for hunting and fishing. Some of his favorite moments were at his grandparents’ home in Chipita Park, catching rainbow trout with his Grandpa John. He spent a summer in Alaska with his Uncle “Eddie Bear” and Aunt Charlotte, where he honed his fishing and hunting skills. He passed that love for the outdoors on to his children.
Scouting was also a lifelong commitment for Norman. He received the Silver Beaver Award, which recognizes Scouters of exceptional character who have provided distinguished service within a council. Both of his sons are Eagle Scouts.
Norman’s heart for the Lord led him to launch the Brothers in Christ Men’s Ministry in 2014 through the Vineyard Church in Smithville. He was known for his love and passion for helping men grow stronger in their faith and positively impact their families and communities.
Norman was a Board-Certified Endodontist, a lifetime member of the American Association of Endodontists and was part of the Kansas City Mid-Century Dental Club. He helped teach and mentor students studying endodontics at UMKC’s School of Dentistry and befriended hundreds of dental practitioners throughout the country.
Norman loved the arts and had been a supporter of the American Theater Guild KC Broadway Series and the Kansas City Symphony for many years. He also supported the National Wild Turkey Federation and many other outdoor sporting organizations focused on wildlife conservation. He was also a member of the North Kansas City Breakfast Club among other community organizations.
Norman married Anita Vanetti in 2014 and proudly became Papa to Halen Grey Smith and Bode Emerson Smith. His children and grandchildren were his greatest joys. Dr. Smith was recognized as a leading endodontist and was practicing in Parkville at the time of his death.
He is survived by his wife, Anita Vanetti; son Norman, daughter-in-law Carrie and grandsons Halen and Bode; son Spencer and daughter-in-law Mikiko; daughter Haley; sisters Julie Lowery and Mandy Gauldin and brother-in-law Scott; nephew David (Jennifer) Lowery; nephew Eric (Daniela) Lowery; niece Emma Lowery; niece Anna (Dalton) Handy; nephew Andy Gauldin; and great nephews Kevin Scott Lowery, Eric James Lowery and Ian Martinez.