Andy J. Smith, 48, of Elk City, Kan., passed away at his home at 11:45 p.m. Sunday, May 14, 2017, after a lengthy illness.
Cremation has taken place by Potts Funeral Chapel of Independence, Kan. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 20, at the Field House on the campus of Independence Community College.
Andrew Joe Smith was born on Jan. 31, 1969, to Joe and Peggy Smith in Fredonia, Kan. He graduated from Fredonia High School in 1987 and went on to spend four years at Pittsburg State University before graduating in 1991. During his time in Pittsburg, he worked at Pitsco Company until he eventually returned home to be part of the family ranch in 1998.
In September, 2000, Andy married the love of his life, Valerie Kirsten Davis, and they spent more than 16 years together as the parents of three sons - Hayden Drew (12), Heston Dean (8) and Holton Daniel (6).
Andy was a member of the Buxton Christian Church of Fredonia, Kan., and was the secretary/treasurer of Sycamore Springs Cemetery. A devoted husband and father, he loved to turkey and deer hunt, attend Wichita State Shocker basketball games, and spend time coaching his oldest son in football, baseball and basketball. He spent much of his time on the family ranch doing work with cattle, but he also enjoyed cooking for family and friends.
In 2006, Andy returned to his alma mater as an assistant boys' basketball coach at Fredonia High School. He spent four seasons (2006-10) as an assistant under his friend, Marcus Lanning, before taking over as head coach of the Yellowjackets for four seasons from 2010-14. He eventually joined his friend Marcus once again in the fall of 2014 as an assistant boys' coach at Independence High School. After being diagnosed with Metastic non-small cell stage IV lung cancer in September, 2015, he stepped away from coaching to focus on his health. But that passion for coaching remained and kept him fighting throughout his illness, allowing Andy to return to the Bulldog bench during the 2016-17 season. Andy enjoyed every minute of his coaching career as he was able to help develop his players not only into better athletes but also mature young men.
Even during his illness, Andy continued to focus on family and was able to take two trips to Hilton Head Island and Walt Disney World in Florida.
Andy is survived by his wife Valerie, of the home; three sons, Hayden, Heston and Holton, all of the home; his parents, Joe and Peggy Smith; sister Lori Oneal and her husband Ryan; and niece Lindsey.
A college fund in honor of Andy has been established for his three sons. Donations can be sent to the "Andy Smith Family College Fund", c/o Community National Bank, 125 N. Penn, Independence, Kan., 67301.