June 04, 2023

Clifford Ellsworth Smith “Boppie”


Clifford Ellsworth Smith, age 96, died Sept. 5, 2022 at the Green Hills Health Care Center in Ames, IA of congestive heart failure.   A celebration of life service will be held at 1:30 Oct. 1, 2022 at Green Hills Retirement Community, 2205 Green Hills Dr. in Ames, IA.

Clifford was born Jan. 6, 1926, in Estherville, Iowa, to Fern Marriott Smith and Clifford Z. Smith.  The family lived in Minnesota for a time with Clifford’s grandparents, where he learned the importance and love of agriculture from his grandfather Ellsworth Smith.

After living in Independence IA, the family settled in Osceola IA, where Clifford graduated from high school in 1944.

He proudly served in the Army Air Corp for 17 months at the end of World War II. Following his discharge in 1945 he married his high school sweetheart Ruth Proudfoot.  They built a home in Ames. Family life centered on raising three children, Collegiate Presbyterian Church membership, events at ISU, summer camping trips across the US, and other community involvements.

He graduated with his BS degree in General Engineering in 1949, an MS degree in Industrial Engineering in 1959, and a Ph.D. in Engineering Evaluation in 1964, all from Iowa State College.  He joined the Iowa State faculty and remained there until his retirement in 1989 teaching classes primarily in human resource management.  In 1971, then ISU president Robert Parks asked him to serve as Interim Personnel Director for Iowa State University and to implement a merit system for non-faculty positions.  He did that until 1974 when he returned to teaching full time.

He became a labor arbitrator in 1968 and was honored to be accepted as a member into the National Academy of Arbitrators in 1977. He was proud of his contributions to labor and industry  as an arbitrator. He worked hard to be neutral and fair in all of his hearings.  He was active in the National Academy of Arbitrators and was chair of the NAA Committee on Research for a time.  He retired from arbitration in 1994 after deciding more than 400 cases.

Ruth, Clifford’s loving wife of 47 years, preceded him in death in 1993. He was a loving caretaker for her when she became ill.

A second chapter of his life began when he met Peggy Stoll.  He was blessed to spend his remaining years enjoying her company.  They enjoyed traveling the world and visiting ISU friends in Indonesia and Australia. Cruises included the Panama Canal and Alaska.  They shared a love of fishing and spent much time in Minnesota and the Boundary Waters with friends.  They enjoyed golf. They wintered in Tucson, AZ, and summered in Ames and Minnesota for many years.

Clifford enjoyed sports. He was an avid handball player, playing what he referred to as, “the perfect game” into his mid 80′s.  He also enjoyed playing golf, but the hours spent on a Minnesota lake with a fishing pole in his hand were the most treasured moments.  He was a lifelong Cyclone fan.

Clifford had a passion for music. He was surrounded by music from an early age. His mother, Fern, was a voice teacher and church soloist. He played the flute in the high school band. In retirement, he enjoyed taking lessons again and played in several senior bands.   He sang with a hearty tenor voice and enjoyed performing in community musicals. He was active in ACTORS for many years. Some of his favorite roles were in Pajama Game, Guys and Dolls, and Music Man.  Even into the last week of his life, he would break into a show tune that fit the conversation, in an amazingly strong voice.  His neighbors will remember his ready whistling of tunes as he moved around Green Hills.

Those left to remember him are his children, Lachlan Smith (Kathryn) of Punta Gorda FL, Rebecca Neemann (Bruce) of Syracuse NE, and Scott Smith (Rich Joens) of Winterset IA.  Seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren to whom he was affectionately known as “Boppie”, Peggy Stoll, his partner of 28 years, and her children and grandchildren, and many friends and neighbors.

The family thanks all the wonderful nurses and staff at Green Hills Health Care Center and Suncrest Hospice for their excellent care and attention. Memorial arrangements are being organized through Grandon Funeral and Cremation Care.  Memorials can be made in his memory to the Green Hills Employee Appreciation Fund, the Green Hills Scholarship Fund, or a charity of your choice. Memories that celebrate Clifford’s life are appreciated and can be shared with the family at www.grandonfuneralandcremationcare.com