Marvin “Jack Smoot was born on July 27, 1932 in Rover, Missouri to Ellen (Wright) and Allen Smoot and passed away Friday, May 27, 2022 at the age of 89 years and10 months.
During high school, Jack wore #3 and Gene, his twin brother, wore #8. The opposing coaches always suspected they switched jerseys at half-time but could never prove it.
After high school graduation, they worked in Peoria, Illinois at Union Pacific Railroad.
Their mother was an educator and encouraged them to return to Missouri and attend college. They enrolled in Ozark Baptist College in West Plains, Missouri.
Jack and his brother Gene served in the Air Force.
In August 1953 Jack married Anna LaWanda Huddleston. They were promptly assigned to the Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jack and Gene both played for the traveling baseball team. Jack was recruited by the minor leagues but hurt his pitching arm in a tournament and was never able to throw his fastball again.
Jack and Gene were transitioned to Spokane, Washington for additional training. They were placed in a Special Forces Unit called The Rangers. They quickly found themselves on a “special cruise ship to Korea.”
Upon returning to the United States, Jack was stationed in San Diego for a short period. Eventually, he returned to Missouri and enrolled in College at Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri on the GI Bill.
Upon graduation, they moved back to West Plains, Missouri where Jack was the assistant basketball coach to legendary Jim Peters. One of Jack’s greatest achievements was when his “B” team entered the WP Tournament. The final championship game came down to Peter’s undefeated WP “A” team and Smoot’s “B” team. There was pandemonium in the gym when the “B” team beat the elite, undefeated “A” team.
Jack coached several more years in WP until he received a phone call from Superintendent Louis J. Donati, and school board president, Guy Hutchison. He happily accepted the position of head coach and physical education instructor.
One of the first games Jack’s Tiger team played was against the Lafayette Lancers in Ellisville, Missouri. It was coached by his twin brother, Gene. St. James beat the mighty Lancers. Jack’s team went 24-0 in conference play that year. He taught physical education and coached softball, baseball, volleyball, and basketball during his two years at St. James High School.
In 1963, State Farm contacted Jack. He won many elite awards (Crystal Excellence, Bronze Tablet and Golden Triangle). While he had a very distinguished career (52 years) with the company.
While his coaching career was short lived in St. James, Missouri he never forgot the relationships he built. He remained “Coach” to his players until the very end.
Jack loved teaching Sunday School for the Boys Town boys at the First Baptist Church where he and LaWanda were members for many years.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Allen and Ellen Smoot; his wife, LaWanda Smoot in 2017; and twin brother, Robert Gene Smoot in 1999.
He is survived by his daughter, Patti Smoot of Chesterfield, Missouri; son, Bill Smoot and wife Brenda of St. James, Missouri; sister, Sue Johnson and husband Jim of Fort Smith, Arkansas; other relatives and friends.
Visitation was held from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, June 2, 2022 at the St. James Chapel of the James & Gahr Mortuary in St. James, Missouri.
Graveside services were held at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 3, 2022 at the Howell Memorial Park Cemetery in Pomona, Missouri officiated by his sister Sue Johnson.
Pallbearers were Bill Smoot, John Barry, Robert Tessaro, Wilson Hughes, Greg Emory, Leon Conway, Duane Steen, Chet Saladin, Woodie Mosher, Dennis Wilson, Guy Warnecke, Harold Hughes, Harold Burton, Jim White, Tim Vogel, Carl Roark, Jim Huss, Velmer Hancock, Dale Chilton and Scott Gahr.
Arrangements under the direction of the James & Gahr Mortuary in St. James, Missouri.