CHAMPION, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Robert “Riverboat” Smith, 83, of Champion, Ohio passed away Monday, October 17, 2022, at St. Elizabeth Hospital.
He was born October 11, 1939, in Warren, Ohio, the son of the late Sylvan R. and the late Grace May (Cleaves) Smith.
In 1957, Bob became a member of the graduating class of Champion High School, the last graduating class from the old Central Elementary building. His proud sense of commitment to the Champion community began within those walls.
Shortly after graduation, Bob became a building member of the Champion Athletic Club. He served for over 28 years (1958-1986) dedicating his time and efforts into fundraising, building and maintaining the CAC complex and coaching from 1972-1986.
Bob was also a Champion High school football fan, serving 30 years on the “chain gang”, where he ran the chains and down markers at home football games, a commitment he passed down the ranks to his son and son-in-law.
In 1996, alongside the late Dave Chapin, Bob transformed the former CHS bus garage into “Winterhaven”, an indoor baseball/softball complex where hundreds of kids have sharpened their skills during inclement weather and off season. For all his efforts and dedication to Champion athletics, Bob was awarded induction into the Warren Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. He also served on the Champion Elementary care crew for six years.
Bob has also been a devoted member of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church for 59 years, where he has served such roles as maintenance man, trustee, and elder.
In 2018, Bob was awarded Senior Citizen of the Year by the Rotary Club of Champion.
He is survived by his wife, Linda Lee (Saler) Smith of Champion, Ohio, whom he married February 23, 1963; children, Jeffrey (Mary Beth) Smith of Bath, Ohio, Michele (Rob) Scott of Champion, Ohio and Stephen (Karen) Smith of Champion, Ohio; siblings, Geraldine, Phyllis, Charlene and Larry and grandchildren, Joshua, Brooke, Allison, Jeremy and Justin.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his daughter, Pamela Smith and siblings, Donna, Lee and Ted.
Services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, October 21, 2022, at the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Friends may call from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 20, 2022, at the Carl W. Hall Funeral Home.
Interment will be in Champion Township Cemetery, Champion, Ohio.
A television tribute will air Thursday, October 20 at the following approximate times: 6:47 a.m. on WYTV, 9:43 a.m. on WKBN, 10:58 a.m. on FOX and 8:12 p.m. on MyYTV.