Lloyd Thomas Smith

Male 1923 - 2009  (86 years)


'Gem' of community Lloyd Smith dies

The Newton Kansan

'Gem' of community Lloyd Smith dies

Lloyd Smith was seen as many things to those who knew him: a dreamer, an inventor, a visionary, a community asset, and a faithful friend and co-worker. Smith, a longtime Harvey County resident and community supporter, died Tuesday at Comfort Care Home in Wichita after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 86. Virgil Penner of North Newton knew Lloyd for about 25 years. He said Lloyd was a visionary who had grand ideas for Newton. 'Lloyd and I had a long relationship working on improving downtown, even before I started with the Chamber (of Commerce),' Penner said. 'We talked about the Old Mill and putting a restaurant in it, and he was instrumental in working with me to get Blue Sky funding. He donated the artist's costs for Blue Sky. He and his wife also were both very involved in fine arts and music at Bethel College.

'Lloyd and I would sit down over dinner and dream up ideas,' Penner said. 'He always was a supporter of me from the standpoint that he could see things others don't normally see until they're put together.'

Lloyd moved to Harvey County in 1958, when he took a job with Hesston Corp. in Hesston. He became vice president of marketing, with responsibilities for domestic and international sales and long-range planning for product and marketing. He also was on the board of directors of the company.

In 1971, Lloyd formed S/V Tool Co. in Newton. The company specialized in hand tools for the mass consumer markets. He developed and marketed a line of windshield scrapers and snow brushes, a screwball ratcheting screwdriver and other tools.

Perhaps his most notable invention was a ratchet-handled screwdriver, the 'Screwball,' which was purchased by Sears for its Craftsman line of tools.

Lloyd also had an interest in historic preservation. He was instrumental in restoring the former Warkentine Mill into the Old Mill Plaza. The Old Mill Plaza was built in 1879 by Monarch Steam Mills. It was purchased by Bernhard Warkentin, a Russian immigrant, in 1886 and used to mill Turkey Red hard winter wheat immigrants brought to Kansas from Russia.

In 1973, the building was deteriorating, fire damaged and scheduled for demolition. At midnight, before the demolition was to resume, the mill was saved when Lloyd and his wife purchased the complex. The complex was restored and now is home to a Reba's restaurant and offices.

The restoration project received national attention and earn a top national award: The David E. Finley Award for excellence in historic preservation.

Lloyd also was active in many community organizations. He was an elder and trustee at First Presbyterian Church; director of the Newton Area Chamber of Commerce; on the advisory board of the Salvation Army; was director of Axtell Christian Hospital; was on the Presidents Advisory Council of Bethel College; was on the board of director at First Bank of Newton; and was district governor of the Rotary Club.

Ted Ice of Newton said Lloyd was like a second father to him. He said Lloyd had many accomplishments, including being a great fine arts painter; serving on the board of trustees at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, which is a Presbyterian conference and fine arts center; restoring a house at 715 W. Broadway St.; and inventing many agricultural tools and a plastic windshield scraper.

Lloyd was born on May 14, 1923, in Great Bend. He graduated from Great Bend High School in 1939. He served his country in World War II as an Army Air Corp bomber pilot. He flew 30 missions in a B24 bomber during the war. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross as well as an Air Medal and Ribbon for service in both the European and Pacific theaters of operation.

Lloyd graduated from Kansas State University in 1947 with a degree in mechanical engineering.

On June 12, 1949, he married Jacqueline McCalla Bowen at First Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. She preceded him in death on Aug. 29, 2000. He married Sarah Taleen in 2001 in Wichita, and she survives.

Ray Adee of Newton got to know Lloyd when they both studied mechanical engineering and were in the same social fraternity at K-State. They later worked together at Krause Plow Co. in Hutchinson and then what is now Hesston Corp.

'Back in college he was an outstanding honor student in engineering,' he said. 'On the work side, he was always thinking of better ways to do things. To do something new and different. He said a company needs to excel at one thing - and be great at it - not try to do everything.'

Adee said Lloyd had numerous patents on products and tools.

'He had an unfaltering confidence in the future,' Adee said. 'He said if we just work together and be creative, we can accomplish things.'

Glen Ediger of North Newton worked at S/V Tool Co. for three years and worked with Lloyd in a partnership another two years.

'The two of us did design projects,' he said. 'We did some things for Fiskars, picture frame designs, and lawn and garden designs. Working with him was one of the best things to happen to my career. He was a true entrepreneur who was always looking for new ideas.'

Ediger said the company sold products nationwide and did national advertising.

'Lloyd was a mentor, spending many hours with me, sharing his thoughts, ideas and knowledge of business,' he said. 'He was a living definition of an entrepreneur, endlessly thinking of ideas and business plans. Even though he was of a different generation than me, he was a true friend that I truly admired.'

A memorial service will be announced at a later date. Petersen Funeral Home in Newton is in charge of arrangements.

Also surviving Lloyd are his three children, William Bowen Smith of Dallas, Deborah Smith Douglas of Santa Fe, N.M., and Randall Thomas Smith of Walnut Creek, Calif.; and five grandchildren.

Owner of originalHarvey County Genealogical Society
Date31 Dec 2009
Linked toLloyd Thomas Smith

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