Alumni Obituary - Robert E. "Ish" Smith - Central Christian College... Skip to content

Alumni Obituary – Robert E. “Ish” Smith

Robert "Ish" SmithGreenville, Illinois – Robert E. “Ish” Smith (CC ’55), age 85 of Greenville, passed away Wednesday evening, August 18, 2021, in HSHS Holy Family Hospital, Greenville, Illinois.

Robert Earl, the son of Robert Archie and Lillie Snow (Harrell) Smith was born May 15, 1936, in Dallas, Texas. Ish grew up in Dallas, attending Harold Budd Elementary, Boude Story Jr. High, and Crozier Tech High School and then transferring to and graduating from Central Academy in McPherson Kansas. He then attended Central College in McPherson, Kansas, and then transferring to and graduating from Greenville College in 1957. He then went on to complete a Master’s degree from Southern Illinois University in 1958 and eventually a Doctorate degree from Florida State University in 1973.

He coached and taught at Taylor University from 1958-1961. He coached and taught at Greenville College from 1961-1975 and was the Assistant to the President & Director of Alumni Affairs from 1975-1977. From 1977-1993 he was the Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Greenville College and then became the President from 1993 until his retirement in 1999.

Robert and Joanna (Riggs) were united in marriage on August 30, 1957, in San Diego, CA at the Hillcrest Free Methodist Church by Rev. John E. Riggs. They had enjoyed 60 years together before her passing on June 5, 2018

Surviving are his son Charles “Chuck” Smith and wife Rene’ of Somerset Center, Michigan; daughter Cynthia Kay Oglesby of Greenville; Grandchildren: Christopher Benton Oglesby (wife Kristen Frasca), Caleb Charles Smith, Kayce Joanna Oglesby, Zachary Earl Smith, Abigale Grace Oglesby and granddaughter Emily Jolene Smith, who preceded Ish in death on November 23, 2019.

He is also survived by his sister, Javene (husband Charles) Stephens of Minneola, Kansas. Preceded in death by his adopted sister, Jennie Bates Womack of Fort Worth, Texas.

Ish was nicknamed “Mr. Baseball” by many due to his lifelong career in college baseball, amateur baseball, and Olympic Baseball. The list of awards and accomplishments are too many to list and can be found at #ishsmithmrbaseball.

Memorials may be made to the Greenville Free Methodist Church, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, or Greenville University, at the service or at the Donnell-Wiegand Funeral Home. To send condolences online visit

A Celebration of Life Memorial Service is scheduled for 11:00 am on Saturday, October 2, 2021, at the Greenville Free Methodist Church. Visitation will be Friday, Oct 1, from 5-8 pm and Saturday from 10:00 am until the 11:00 service. Interment will be held privately in Mt. Auburn Cemetery.


Central Christian College of Kansas is a regionally accredited institution offering undergraduate and graduate-level programs. Central strives to offer Christ-centered education for the whole person – heart, mind, soul, and strength. Its history dates back to 1884, and it is located in the friendly town of McPherson, Kansas. Central is a strategically small college that offers over forty areas of residential study and a thriving online program for non-traditional students. To learn more about Central go to Visit the Foundation of Central Christian College to see what projects and events are coming up.

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