SFC Ret. Robert Eugene “Gene” Smitley Jr. of Midwest City, Okla., and Danville, Ill., passed away at Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015.
He was born to Judith A. (Hamer) and Robert E. Smitley Sr. on Feb. 25, 1962, at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho.
Gene was a proud member of the Illinois National Guard and United States Army active duty, serving a total of 28½ years protecting our beloved country and freedom, beginning his career as a combat medic and eventually becoming an ICU Licensed Practical Nurse at Ft. Bliss, Texas.
Gene began working his way up the ladder, becoming a wardmaster of urology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., assistant chief wardmaster and finally chief wardmaster for the 47th Field Hospital at Ft. Sill, Okla.
While stationed at Ft. Sill, he met his wife and life partner of 18¼ years online. In May 1997, Gene met Kimberlea J. (Foster) face to face for the first time. They married in a private Cherokee Native American ceremony on June 14, 1997. After deactivating the 47th FH, the couple moved to Ft. Polk, La., where Gene served as the chief wardmaster for the 115th Field Hospital, the last activate duty army field hospital.
While with the 115th, Gene was responsible for Medex 2000, a medical exercise at Camp Zama, Japan, and in 2003 deployed the field hospital to Camp Airif John, Kuwait, where he designed and built his last field hospital. The design would become a permanent brick and mortar hospital.
The Smitley’s were stationed at Fort Monroe, Va., with duty at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where Gene served as the quality assurance for all Army medical units. On May 1, 2007, Gene retired from active duty and in December 2012 the couple moved to Midwest City, Okla., where they filled their retirement spending time with their wonderful grandchildren and playing Lords of the Dragon (LOD).
Gene was a member of Catlin Masonic Lodge and attained the high honor of 32nd Degree. In 2004, Gene and Kimberlea become sponsors for an inner city youth organization called the Misfits of Society (MoS) and humbly accepted their role as “Mama and Dad” becoming parent figures to the teens.
Gene had a generous spirit and was a highly honorable individual. He was an example for his family, his friends, and his community, including his online Lords of the Dragon comrades.