joe van smitherman

Joe Van Smitherman, 74, of Longview, Texas passed away December 21, 2010 at Margaret's House following a long battle with cancer.

Joe Van was born October 6, 1936 in Longview, Texas. He attended Judson High School, and graduated from Texas A&M in 1958. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army, and attended Rotary Wing Aviator School in Fort Wolters, Texas. Following his graduation, he was assigned to the aviation unit at Miller Field on Staten Island, New York. He met his wife Linda Wilson Smitherman while there, and they were married February 11, 1961.

Joe Van continued his career in the Army, serving his country for more than two decades. He helped pioneer the use of helicopters by the Army. He completed two tours of duty in Viet Nam, serving as a Helicopter Pilot, Infantry Liason Officer and Company Commander in the 1st Air Cavalry Division. For his service he was awarded the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, two Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation. He also served two tours in Korea.

After retiring from the Army, Joe Van worked on the family farm raising cattle. He was the Scoutmaster of Troop 620 for 30 years and served as the Troop Chairman until he passed away.

He is survived by his wife, Linda W. Smitherman, sons Jody Smitherman, wife Cynthia, and granddaughter Matney; Mark Smitherman, wife Sarah, grandson Taylor and granddaughter Meghan; Jeffery Smitherman, wife Nagelle and grandsons Cullen, Jack and Nate. He is also survived by an extensive family of aunts, uncles and cousins.

Joe Van was preceded in death by his father Joseph C. Smitherman, and mother Ollie B Smitherman.

A visitation will be held at Rader Funeral Home on 27 December from 6 to 8 PM.. Services will be held at Winterfield United Methodist Church on Tryon Road at 2:00 PM on the 28th of December. Burial will follow in Winterfield Cemetery where Ft. Hood AMRY Base will present full military honors. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Winterfield United Methodist Church or Margaret's House are requested.

This Memorial Obituary provided by Rader Funeral Home

Published in Longview News-Journal on December 27, 2010