Olon Smith
Aug 22, 2012 | 776 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Olon O. Smith, former resident of Metropolis, died Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012 at Sunnyside Nursing Home in Sarasota, Fla.

A memorial service took place in Sarasota on Aug. 13. A graveside service will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at Metropolis Memorial Gardens with Rev. Mike Duncan officiating.

Olon was born on April 2, 1921 in Lake, Miss. and was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, serving in the Pacific during World War II.

He started his working life with the R.G. LeTourneau Co. Mr. LeTourneau was a prolific inventor and builder of large earthmoving machinery, and his company provided a fruitful learning experience for Olon.

His next job involved working on the construction of a major hydroelectric plant at Guntersville, Ala. This work gave him an extensive knowledge, not only of the construction of power plants, but of the generation and distribution of electricity.

While there, a close friend called him, told Olon his talents were sorely needed, and implored him to come to Metropolis, a small town in southern Illinois.

Olon traveled there and subsequently became the superintendent of the water and light department for that city.

Later Olon was offered a job with the newly arrived Allied Chemical, which had established a plant in Metropolis to produce uranium hexafluoride. He quickly advanced and was soon transferred to the company headquarters in Morristown, N.J. Allied was eventually purchased by Honeywell, and Olon retired from their Baltimore facility. He spent a total of 29 years with Allied/Honeywell. He later moved to Sarasota from Lutherville, Md. in 1986.

Shortly after moving to Metropolis Olon walked into Humma’s Drug Store to buy a newspaper and met his future wife, Lavene Reynolds Hard.

Lavene, daughter of Oliver and Etta Reynolds, had spent her life in Metropolis. When Olon met her, she was a widow with three young children.

Less than two years later, they married at the First Christian Church in Metropolis. He was 32 years old, and she was 30.

They were together 52 years before Lavene passed away Aug. 8, 2006, also at Sunnyside in Sarasota.

Olon passed away in the same nursing home within two hours of the sixth anniversary of her death.

Olon is survived by three children, Michael Hard and wife Sally of Sarasota, Jackie Hard of Silver Spring, Md. and Judi Storms and husband Billy of Corpus Christi, Texas; 10 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

He was a caring and compassionate husband, father and grandfather. He was a Christian and a member of the American Legion.

Memorials may be made to Sunnyside Foundation, Chapel Building Fund, 5501 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota, FL 34232.

Miller Funeral Home of Metropolis is in charge of arrangements.
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