Joe Bob Smith

We mourn the passing of Joe Bob Smith, 90, who died unexpectedly in Mesa, Arizona, on Aug. 20, 2021. He lived a rich and full life as part of two large families, fulfilled by a career he loved, and he enjoyed the peace and abundant activities that retirement afforded him. He will be missed.

Joe Bob was born in 1931 in Globe, Arizona, to parents J.C. “Jake” Smith and Hassie P. (Bosworth) Smith, both deceased. He is also predeceased by his only sibling Laura Lou (Smith) Wenzel.

He married JoAnne Hicks in 1954, and they remained married until her death in 1980. They are survived by their three children Nikki L. Hassel (husband Craig), N Tyson Smith-Ray (husband Tim) and Troy L. Smith, two grandsons and one great-grandson. He is also survived by JoAnne’s family, Roy and Marilyn Hicks, and their children.

Joe Bob married Ruth Kehart (Porter) in 1982 and spent the rest of his days with her. He is survived by his wife Ruth Smith, his stepchildren Deborah Swartzbaugh (husband Keith), Karen Cox (husband Craig, both deceased) and Jon Porter (wife April), five step-grandchildren and eight step-great-grandchildren.

Joe Bob attended Globe High School, graduated in 1949, and later earned his B.S. at St. Mary’s College in California in 1978. After high school, he joined the U.S. Navy and served from 1951-1954.

He had a long and distinguished career in law enforcement, beginning in 1956 with the Arizona Highway Patrol, which later became the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS). He retired as a Major in 1989 after 33 years with the department. He loved his career, those he served with and the opportunities that it afforded him.

He continued his service as a member of the Highway Patrol Association and the DPS Retirees Coalition. His other activities included being a long-standing member of the Grace Bible Church in Sun City, Arizona, and the S.C.W. Country Western Dance Club.

Although Joe Bob and JoAnne moved away from Globe, he was always proud to call Globe his hometown. His interests included riding his motorcycle, fishing, living in the cabins he and Ruth purchased, cutting wood and being an avid reader. 

The funeral services were private. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the 100 Club-Phoenix, which supports families of first responders who are seriously injured or killed in the line of duty.