Ralph Joseph Smith was born in Monroe on November 22, 1937. He was the youngest of six children born to the union of the late Otis and Cleo (Heath) Smith. Joe attended Monroe Public Schools.
As a young man, Joe began working for Monroe Steel Castings. He would work for thirteen years before taking a position with the Ford Motor Company as a maintenance welder. Joe worked at the Woodhaven Stamping Plant for twenty-five years retiring medically in November of 1998.
He married the former, Audrey “Kay” Smith on April 7, 1966 in Knoxville, Tennessee. They enjoyed traveling and riding their Honda Gold Wing motorcycles in the 1980’s.
A born again Christian, Joe received his spiritual nourishment attending the North Monroe Street Church of God. The couple wintered for nineteen years in Mission, Texas. There he enjoyed golfing with other snowbirds.
Joe loved being outdoors and he was an avid fisher and hunter. He would even dream about getting rabbit, deer and pheasant. He had a wonderful sense of humor and was quite witty and enjoyed good-natured teasing. He loved his family more than anything and he was a proud grandfather, being a constant fixture at their sporting events and always their biggest fan. He could be counted on for sound advice and his signature line always started with, “I’m not telling you what to do, but if I were you…”
Joe, age 81, of Monroe passed away peacefully on Thursday, May 2, 2019 at Wellspring Lutheran Services under the care of Great Lakes Caring Hospice. In addition to his parents his passing was preceded by a daughter-in-law: Margaret “Maggie” Smith; two sisters: Ruth D. Cochran and Esther J. McKeehan; and three brothers: Paul E. Smith, Earl J. Smith, and James “Karl” Smith.
To cherish his memory he leaves a beloved wife of fifty-three years: Audrey “Kay” of Monroe; four children: Gregory Smith of Dundee, Jeff (LeeAnn) Smith, Ryan Smith, and Laurie (Dan) Duvall all of Monroe; six grandchildren: Katie (Stephen) Arsenault, Audie Smith, Kyla Smith, Cieria Raymo, Destiny Raymo, and Riley Raymo; and many nieces and nephews.
Friends may gather from 2:00pm-8:00pm on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at Merkle Funeral Service, South Monroe; 14567 South Dixie Highway (734) 241-7070. He will lie in state on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 from 10:00am until a Celebration of His Life at 11:00am at the North Monroe Street Church of God, 2393 North Monroe Street. Procession will follow to Roselawn for burial.
Memorials are suggested to the church. Online guests may visit www.merklefs.com.