Anna Lee Smith
Anna Lee Smith, a spouse, mother and friend, died on Oct. 30, 2019. She was 81.
Ann was born Jan. 31, 1938, in St. Joseph, Mo. She was the oldest of five children born to John and Velma Huber. She was reared on the family's dairy farm near Easton and graduated from Easton High School as valedictorian. She worked at Western Tablet and Stationary Co. in St. Joseph after graduating from a local business school.
In 1964, she met Robert Emmett Smith on a blind date. Bob, a history teacher at East Buchanan High School, took her to the Snow White Drive-In Restaurant. After Ann was in a bad car accident that left her hospitalized, what became known in the family as the "blue bunny card" and its simple words pushed them toward love. They married on Aug. 21, 1965.
The Smiths had two children, Rob and Theresa, and made stops in Kansas City, Kan., and Stillwater, Okla., before arriving in Joplin, Mo., in 1972.
Ann was a focused, fast typist, able to bang out 92 words a minute and talk as episodes of "The Young and the Restless" blared in the background. She was a volunteer at St. Mary's Catholic Church and St. Mary's Elementary School where her children attended, before finding her calling at McAuley Catholic High School in 1978.
She retired as the business administrator for Joplin Area Catholic Schools after 25 years. Her commitment to the Catholic schools led her to being deemed a Mercy associate by the Sisters of Mercy, West Midwest. Ann spent many evenings baking birthday cakes for each person on the faculty and staff. Ann was a fantastic baker, but her cakes didn't hold a candle to her fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy!
Ann's greatest joy was her family, specifically her three granddaughters, and her closest friends, the self-described FFROGS, a small posse of her closest Catholic friends and the Methodist who they allowed to join.
Ann was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease a couple of years before retiring from McAuley in 2003. Parkinson's beginnings weren't overwhelming for Ann, but the disease progressed over the years and made it difficult to drive, cook, walk, see, sit in a chair, eat, swallow and finally talk. Ann rarely complained about any of it.
Ann was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Bob, a Missouri Southern State College professor who died in 1994.
Survivors include three brothers, John Huber, of Stewartsville, Mo., Joseph Huber, of Easton, Mo., and Ernest Huber, of St. Joseph, Mo.; a sister, Shirley Keyes, of Kansas City, Mo.; a son, Robert John Smith, of Springdale, Ark.; a daughter, Theresa Anne Calvert, of Sibley, Mo.; and three granddaughters, Jessica Anne Whittington, Elizabeth Ann Smith and Sarah Grace Whittington, all of Kansas City, Mo.
Visitation will be at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Joplin. The funeral service will be at 10 a.m. at the church.
Burial will be immediately after and next to her husband at Mount Hope Cemetery in Webb City.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Joplin Area Catholic Schools would be what Ann would appreciate most from those who loved her.
Arrangements are being handled by Parker Mortuary in Joplin.
Published on November 1, 2019


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