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Franklin "Hank" J Smith

Franklin J Smith, oldest child of Jim and Georgia Smith was born on September 11, 1932 in Mt. Ayr, IA, and went home to Jesus on November 15, 2014 at Arbor Springs in West Des Moines, IA.

On December 9, 1951 Hank married his high school sweetheart, Phyllis Ann Fletchall. They were married over 55 years at the time of her passing. Also preceding him in death are his parents, father-in-law Lee Fletchall, and brother Kenneth Smith.

He is survived by his 3 children, Terrie Fenstermann and husband Matt, Randy Smith and wife Connie, and Trudy Taylor and husband Scott, 10 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren, a sister Deb Smith, a sister-in-law Connie Worthington and husband Jim, and his mother-in-law Margaret Fletchall.

After graduation Hank started his own business called Hank's TV and Appliances. A few years later he purchased the Texaco station on Hwy 2 and named it Smith Oil, eventually relocating it to the east side of town where it is to date. Hank got "hooked" on racing in the 50's. He started racing at the Mt. Ayr Speedway going on to race sprint cars all throughout the U.S. He became very well known throughout the racing family, making many long lasting friendships. Hank is a member of the Knoxville Sprint Car Hall of Fame. In the 60's Hank bought a farm with his long time friend, Gerald Willey. It was known as "Green Acres" by both families. In the 70's he added Auto Parts stores to his collection of businesses. Of all the ventures Hank welcomed into his life he found that farming was his love. In the 80's he started adding to his farming operation continuing to do so to date.

Hank loved to visit about his farms. You could find him and his faithful companion, Blackie, early every morning at the Coop just hanging out to visit with the other farmers. Another place you could count on finding him was Smith Oil greeting every one that came in and drinking his coke. For years he spent Monday nights in Grand River playing cards with his poker buddies. You could always count on him to be there. Even when his mind wasn't 100% that's the one thing he could remember to do!

Hank never knew a stranger. He had a welcoming smile and a great personality that just made it easy to talk to him. He loved having his family getting together. He enjoyed his grandchildren hanging out with him! Hank will be missed very much by all of his family and friends.

"Good things don't come to people who wait...they come to those who work their A**** off and never give up" This quote pretty much sums up Hank's life!

  • Visitation

    November 18, 2014
    2:00 PM to 8:00 PM

    Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home

    205 West Monroe St
    Mount Ayr, IA

  • Family Will Be Present

    November 18, 2014
    6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

    Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home

    205 West Monroe St
    Mount Ayr, IA

  • Funeral Service

    November 19, 2014
    11:00 AM

    First Christian Church

    201 W. Monroe St
    Mount Ayr, IA

  • Burial

    Wednesday November 19 2014

    Rose Hill Cemetery

    Hwy 2 & 169
    Mount Ayr, IA

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Franklin Smith, please visit our flower store.


Hank always had a smile and a twinkle in His eyes, He was friends with my folks when they were all much younger than I am now, He was always a welcome sight and a friendly face in a crowd, One year my wife and I were visiting IA. and were at the State Fair, and in that multitude of People, ran into Hank, we hadn''t seen in years. this is one of the people, I always looked forward to seeing when we visited Iowa , Sorry for your family''s Loss ,

Posted by Scott "Cavender" Stewart - Muldrow, OK - R Family''s Friend   March 19, 2015

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

Those we love don''t go away, they walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard, but always near. Still loved, still missed and very dear. - Unknown

Posted by Ferne - Osceola, IA   January 07, 2015

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

So sorry for your loss. I visited with Hank a few times at Knoxville, a great guy. Don''t know if you remember me, you drove my T.Q. Midget at Macomb, Il one time. Marvin Metcalf''s wife and my wife are twins.

Posted by Dean & Sandy Chipman - P.O. box 117, Ipava, IL   November 22, 2014

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

So sorry to of Hank''s passing. Served him many cups of coffee at Ruth''s Cafe and he always had time to explain to my son Tony how his hook worked, no matter how many times they talked about it. Many great memories.


Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

Sincere condolences and prayers to the Smith family. I remember Hank well and visited with him many times in the pits at Knoxville. He was always so very nice to me. He will be remembered well.

Posted by Cindy Shaffer Wiebke - Allison, IA - Race friend   November 20, 2014

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

Smith family
Mike & I are so sorry for the passing of Hank, he always liked to give me s__t
& of course I always gave it back, Randy & Connie, Chad & Christi, please know that thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this time

Barb & Mike O''Brien

Posted by Barb O''Brien - Knoxville, IA - friend   November 19, 2014

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

To all of Hank''s family and friends:
I''ll always be thankful for having known Hank and Phyllis. Way back when I was a school kid lookin'' for a job Hank hired me to work at Smith Texaco and then later at his parts store in Des Moines. Not long after I started at the gas station I figured out that there was a great benefit that came with the job.... working in the race car shop and riding to the Knoxville races every Sat night! Those were "the good ''ol days"..... so many stories and great memories!

If I could use only one word to describe Hank, it would be "motivated". When he had an idea, he gave it his "all" until it was accomplished. He set the standard for work ethic.

We''re sorry we can''t be there for his services, but please know that you''re all in our thoughts and prayers.

Roger and Terri Main, Apache Junction, AZ

Posted by Roger & Terri Main - Creston, IA - friends and former employee   November 19, 2014

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

When I went to Knoxville, I always enjoyed seeing Hank. Jay drove for Hank and always spoke very highly of him. My prayers go out to the family and all Hanks friends. Hanks smile will be missed

Posted by pat woodside - wichita, KS - friend   November 19, 2014

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

News travels just like Hank is now doing visiting all his friends. Sorry to hear of Hank''s passing. Would not of known WHO Franklin might be. Hank was nice to visit with and he always had a smile and usually a joke or something funny to tell. Him and his pretty red pickup traveling the roads of southern Iowa will be missed...

Posted by william & Linda Smith - Summerville, SC - friends from Kellertton   November 19, 2014

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

Hank entered our lives through auto racing. I always called him "Boss." If it wasn''t for Hank Smith, there would never have been a Ray Lee Goodwin, IMCA champion. There''s one thing about the #5 car, it always knew the way to the front row! I sure was proud to drive for Hank. I would rather be there in person than to send this electronic message. Our deepest and heartfelt sympathy goes out to the entire family. Hank will always "The Boss" to me! Warmly, Ray Lee and Alice J Goodwin

Posted by Raymond Lee and Alice J Goodwin - Sedalia, MO - Dear friend through auto racing   November 19, 2014

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

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