Distinguished Alumnus
Class of 2016

Dr. Robert E. Smith
(April 8, 1937 - June 28, 2018)

AHS Class of 1955

Dr. Robert Smithís forty-three year dental career served generations of families inArcola and the surrounding community. Robert Edmund Smith was born in Arcola April 8, 1937, the second son of William H. and Lois Moyer Smith. His mother was Home Economics teacher at Arcola High School and his father was co-owner of Smith Brothers Trucking in Arcola.

Bob attended Arcola schools, graduating with the Arcola High School Class of 1955. While at AHS, Bob was an honor student, played football four years, sang with the chorus and was involved in class plays. He was also a member of the Varsity Club, Torch staff and Camera Club. After studying piano and organ for many years, Bob played for worship services at First Christian Church of Arcola as a high school student. Following his high school graduation, Bob continued his education at Illinois Wesleyan University, where he completed his B.S. in Biology in 1959. While at Illinois Wesleyan, he was a member of Theta Chi social fraternity. Bob and his lifelong friend and high school classmate, Natalie Keal, were then married in Arcola on September 5, 1959. Natalie had completed her nurseís training at Barnes Hospital and was able to provide support as Bob soon began his studies at Washington University School of Dentistry in St. Louis. He completed his D.D.S. in 1963.

The Smiths returned to Arcola soon after Dr. Smith completed dental school. He began his private dental practice on North Locust St. in September 1963, and then moved to his permanent location at 128 East Main St. in 1971. In the earlier years of his practice, Dr. Smith served as adjunct instructor for the University of Illinois College of Dentistry Rural Dentist program 1973-1977. He was also adjunct instructor for the LakeLand College Dental Hygiene program 1996-2006, and continues to serve as a member of the programís advisory committee. Dr. Smith closed the doors to his dental practice in 2006 after serving our community for forty-three years.

Dr. Smith has been a member of the American Dental Association since 1962, becoming a life member in 2002. His memberships with the Illinois State Dental Association and the Eastern Illinois Dental Society began in 1964. Dr. Smith served as vice-president and then president of the Eastern Illinois Component of the Illinois Dental Society in 1973 and 1974. In our community, Dr. Smith was a 1976 charter member of Arcola Foundationís Board of Governors and continued to serve on the board for thirty-three years. At the time of his resignation in 2009, he had served as board chair for twenty-eight years. Bob is a Life Member of Arcola Foundation, was a member of the Arcola Citizenís Advisory Council and also served on the board of directors for Arcola Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Smith maintains memberships with both Illinois Wesleyan and Washington University Alumni Associations. He is a sixty-seven year member of the First Christian Church of Arcola, where he has served as chair and vice-chair of the board, church treasurer, deacon, elder, junior deacon advisor and on committees for both stewardship and worship. Bob continued to share his musical talents as church pianist and organist for more than six decades. Bob and Natalieís dedication to the Arcola community was recognized in 2006 when they were selected Broom Corn Festival Grand Marshals.

Bob credits Natalie for her work while he was in dental school and for working with him as a dental assistant for more than twenty years. As retirees, they enjoy traveling and are able to spend more time with their family. Bob and Natalie are parents of three Arcola High School graduates - Sue, Mark and Ann. They are also proud grandparents of nine grandchildren.

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Last Revision November 11, 2017