Walter and Billie (Hamil) Smith, 65th Wedding Anniversary
Walter and Billie Hamil Smith, former Wilmore residents, recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary with a private family celebration. They were married on January 16, 1942 at Grace Methodist Church in Wichita with Rev. R. E. Dewey officiating.
The Smiths lived in the Greensburg/Wilmore area until they moved to Eastern Kansas in 1970, where Walter began working in the Piqua State Bank. He continued working in the banking and insurance industries until his retirement in 1984 from The Citizen's State Bank, Moran Kansas, where he was the President. Billie is a homemaker.
The couple have 5 children, David, deceased, Ruth Pharris and husband Doyle of Glendale AZ, Linda Brower, Nancy Smith, both of Wichita, and Richard Smith and wife Mary of Newton KS. They have 7 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren: Heather and Kevin Pharris-Kloft and Genevieve of Peoria Arizona, Erik and Cassie Pharris, Madison and Dominick of Littleton Colorado, Angela Brower, Karen Brower, both of Wichita, Janelle and Roger Hickey of Great Bend, David Brower, deceased, and Clint Smith of Newton.
Cards for the couple may be sent to them at 1312 Palisade, Wichita KS 67213-5236.
This record of Sermons in Song is a combination of many years of preparation by Walter Smith, a man whose love of life is also reflected in his love of music. After a musical start in the public schools at Greensburg, Kansas, Walter attended Southwestern College at Winfield, Kansas from 1939 to 1941. Southwestern has always been noted for its musical excellence and while attending this fine arts college, he sang in the college choir, and during his last two years, in the college male quartet. The quartet was privileged to do a radio show once a month in Wichita. Walter looked forward to these once a month trips during the "heyday" of radio.
Walter admits that his first love of music is barbershop harmony. He was a charter member of the Greensburg Lions Club, and four of these charter members formed the Lions Club Quartet. He was also a member of the SPEBSQA at Pratt, Kansas. The Greensburg, Coldwater and Medicine Lodge area will long remember Walter for the choirs he directed during Evangelistic church meetings. This also gave those area residents an opportunity to hear the fine solo voice that is captured in this recording.
Walter, along with his accompanist Olive Evans, have presented programs for civic groups, social and fraternal groups, as well as church meetings. Sometimes, Walter uses guitar for accompaniment to "add a little variety". He always looks forward to these opportunities that come his way, that he might bring a note of happiness to those that hear him.
This collaboration between Jim Burnett, the producer of this recording, and Walter was truly an accidental discovery. Jim Burnett was making calls at the Piqua State Bank, arranging for life insurance on loans. They found they had a mutual interest in music. Walter invited Jim to his house to "hot a few" notes.
They would slip away for an hour or so and have a real "old-fashioned hoedown". Jim had produced other records with Audio House and so arrangements were just naturally forthcoming to produce this album of fine songs by Walter Smith.
There is another motivating factor behind the production of this record and that is the Eastern Star Religious Training Scholarship Fund. Walter really believes in this training program and feels there are many deserving young people who want to further their education but donít have the funds. This training is for any denomination, with thousands of dollars contributed by Eastern Star. Walter has truly been inspired by the testimony of these young people who have had this training, as he has listened to them every year at Grand Chapter in April. In the spring of 1974, while hearing these testimonies, he conceived the idea in his heart for this Scholarship Fund record.
To be installed as Worthy Grand Patron of the Eastern Star of Kansas for 1975 is an honor that Walter truly feels grateful and honored to receive. Walter is a 3rd degree Mason in the Masonic Lodge #412 at Wilmore, Kansas; a 32nd degree Mason in the Fort Scott Consistory, and a member of the York Rite Bodies at Iola, Kansas.
Walterís other first love is sacred music, and he has given many special sacred music programs of inspiration. And so, this album is entitled SERMONS IN SONG. Walter and his wife Billie, have four children, Ruth Pharris, Golden, Colorado; Linda Brower, Greensburg, Kansas; Nancy Smith, Wichita, Kansas; and Richard Smith at home.
Sermons In Song by Walter Smith features...
- Accompanist: Olive Evans; Producer: Jim Burnett; Location Recording
- Engineer: Ed Down
- Mastering Engineer: Larry Miller.
- Recorded (in the 1970's) by Audio House, Lawrence, Kansas
At right: Walter Smith performs at the Wilmore Opry, 6 Nov 2004
At left: "Operating the Wilmore Bank during the absence of F. H. Moberly, who is in Europe on a tour, are Myrl Dellinger, cashier, at the left, and Walter Smith, assistant cashier. Mrs. Moberly, who is assistant cashier and director, has not been working at the bank since the busy harvest season." -- Wilmore Bank Robbed Last Week -- The Western Star, 1 Sept 1966.
(Left to right) F. H. Moberley, Lester Fry, Jr., Walter Smith. Seated: Myrl Dellinger.
Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas.
Photo courtesy of Nancy Smith.
The Walter Smith family residence, at left, on 20 February 1969 after a snowstorm in Wilmore, Kansas.
The house, a 'kit home' from Sears and Roebuck, was originally built as the residence of Loren and Alcana Ferrin.
At right in the photograph is the house originally built by Harve Schrock.
Photo courtesy of Nancy Smith.
Ethel Anna (Cobb) SMITH Mother of Walter Smith.
Roy SMITH Father of Walter Smith.
Walter David SMITH Son of Walter & Billie Smith.
Thanks to Nancy Smith for contributing the above information and images to this web site!
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