John Roger Smithey
May 24, 1937  -  February 4, 2019

John Roger Smithey

HeathGriffith Funeral Home
1823 W 51st St.
Tulsa, OK  74107
Sunday, February 10, 2019
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HeathGriffith Funeral Chapel
1823 W 51st St.
Tulsa, OK  74107
Monday, February 11, 2019
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Covey Cemetery
8421 S Maybelle Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74132
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John Roger Smithey - born May 24, 1937 went to be with the Lord on Feb 4, 2019. He is survived by his wife, Irene, of the home, four children Steven, Mary and Pat Hess of Broken Arrow, OK, Tom and Vicki Smithey of Flower Mound, TX, and Robin, three grandchildren Garrett Hess and Chelsea Wilson of Oklahoma City, Miranda, and Jonathan, and 1 great grandchild, Wyatt. Preceded in death by his father, Roger Lee, and mother, Muda Tittle Smithey, and brother, Clyde Smithey.

Of course most everyone knew him as Roger, unless his mother was wanting to get his attention. Then his name was John. Roger was born in Waxahachie, TX, to Muda Tittle and Roger Lee Smithey. He was an active athlete and played several sports, but excelled in football. His parents divorced as a teenager, where he lived with his mother. He went to work at an early age to help provide for her. Upon graduation from Will Rogers High School, Roger studied at the Univ of Tulsa, played football for the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, and eventually played in a semi-pro football league for a year. He married his first wife, and had two children, Mary and Tom. At that point, he had to let his football career go and it was time to go to work. He went straight into the grocery business, and never left. He started as a grocery sacker and moved on up the food chain and became a grocery store manager for Humpty Dumpty in Broken Arrow, OK, in the early 60’s. Through the 70’s and 80’s, Roger worked with Standard Brands and eventually WJ Jones food broker. He worked in sales until he was promoted to branch office manager through his remainder of employment there. In 1988, Roger was appointed as regional sales manager with the Washington Apple Commission.

It was always a running joke with his son and himself about starting a position in the produce industry. Tom used to always like telling that his dad followed in his son’s footsteps into the produce industry, because Tom’s first job out of college was a position in the produce industry. It was only several months later that Roger went to work for the Apple commission. Roger always rolled his eyes about that comment!

Roger eventually went to work for Borton Fruit in 2003, after the demise of Washington Apple Commission. He retired from there in 2011. One thing Roger never lacked was a very strong work ethic. He enjoyed his work, and he was passionate about doing the job to the best of his abilities. Roger made long lasting, personal friendships with all of his colleagues and business partners, and to his last days on this earth, he kept close ties with most all of them. Over the last year it has been hard for him to communicate with all of them due to his illnesses, but all of you know how much that you meant to him. Each and every one of you were important to him. Roger had a knack for making lasting relationships.

Roger met the love of his life, Irene, in 1972, his wife of 45 years. They met at Brown Dunkin dept store in Tulsa one day, and it turned into a 45 year relationship. Roger has two other children, Steven and Robin. Although they are step children, Roger treated his four children as though they were all of his blood. That was just Roger. Roger and Irene did the miraculous “blending of two families” and made it work. Roger and Irene started their life together in North Tulsa, but moved to Jenks, OK, shortly afterward and lived in the same house until his passing. Roger loved Jenks High School football, and had season tickets every year. Steven and Roger spent many a cold nights together following the Jenks Trojans during all of their state championship runs. Roger’s interests in his life were plenty. He especially enjoyed helping organize trips to Memphis and hanging out with all of his Washington Apple family. He talked about these trips two months before and two months afterward. He loved his friends. Roger enjoyed going to church and loving the Lord, fishing, coaching his kids, working out almost every day, umpiring (was able to elevate to college level basketball refereeing and baseball umpiring) watching all sports on TV, loving his dog Lexie, but most importantly, spending time with his family. He was very proud of all of his children, and most recently, he got to spend time with his only great grandchild, Wyatt.

His daughter, Mary, has been an angel in his life and in Irene’s. She has been the one that has gave from her heart and all of her time, selflessly, in taking care of both of their healthcare needs. Roger depended on Mary each and every day, and we all know that God will always provide for us. Roger and Irene would have never made it without the true blessings that God has given to us in having a Mary in the family. Roger knew that in his heart and now he is looking
down at his daughter and saying, “Thank you, Lord, for giving me an angel. Thank you, Lord, in giving me Mary”.

In closing, Roger never met a stranger. Like he always used to say about others, “that guy could talk white outta rice”. Well, that’s what Roger could do, too. He was a passionate and considerate man, and he always put God and his family first in his life. A friend of his had said the other day what he remembers most about him.....”Roger was a true friend and he would give you his shirt off his back and never even think twice about it.”

Roger will be greatly missed by his friends and family, but it is comforting to know that he is no longer in pain. The nurses and staff at Grace Living Center, Jenks, opened their arms and treated Roger just like family, and took care of him like their own.

Roger is now bass fishing in heaven with his good buddy, Garey. He is seeing his parents and rejoicing with them. He is watching over all of his family and friends, and he is smiling down upon all of us and is wanting the very best for us and our time on this earth, and he is now as comfortable, and happy in spending his eternal life with his personal Lord and Savior. Amen!

Visitation for Roger will be held 2pm-5pm on Sunday, February 10, 2019 at the Heath-Griffith Funeral Chapel and a funeral service celebrating his life will be 2pm, Monday, February 11, 2019 also at the Heath-Griffith Funeral Chapel. Burial will follow in Covey Cemetery. Arrangements are entrusted to Heath-Griffith Funeral Home,


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  1. Mary Hess
    Broken Arrow, OK

    I will certainly miss you Daddio ❤️ I know you’ll be watching over us and we will take care of each other till we see you in heaven 😘

  2. Richard & Bonnie Pridemore
    Tulsa, OK

  3. Mary Hess
    Broken Arrow, OK

    I will certainly miss you Daddio ❤️ I know you’ll be watching over us and we will take care of each other till we see you in heaven 😘

  4. John Putnam
    Selah, WA

    I'm sorry for y'all's loss. Enjoyed working with Roger in the apple industry & will never forget the time we went fishing on Lake Fork. He will be missed by many!

  5. Jonathan Smithey
    Tahlequah, OK

    Grandpa was a selfless man and loved his family and friends, dearly. Grandpa would give you the shirt off his back and that’s what I loved so much about him. Every opportunity he got to come watch me play sports, he chomped at the bit. When I looked in to the stands and saw him watching me play, it gave me confidence and a sense of pride. Grandpa knew so much about the game of baseball, and I loved hearing his insights on a sport that he cared so much about. I’m so glad I got to spend time with him fishing, another pastime we were able to enjoy together. I love you and I miss you, Grandpa.

  6. Robbie Green
    Tulsa, OK

    God blessed me when he made you my dad.Miss you. I keep you in my heart with all the memories that we created as a family. Until we meet again

  7. Gary Putnam
    San Antonio, TX

    Sorry for your loss. I enjoyed working and knowing Roger. He was a good man.

  8. Tom Spears
    Muskogee, OK

    I am proud to call you a friend. I'll never forget our days fishing together and look forward to the day you can show me the best fishing spots in Heaven.

  9. David Parkinson
    Bartlett, TN

    Roger was a good friend and a true mentor to me. I never actually worked with him directly but we did cross paths when we both worked long distance at the Washington Apple Commission over 20 years ago. Once Roger put those big arms around you and decided you were a friend . you stayed a friend regardless of distance, etc. With have a saying in Tennessee what defines good folks, "THEY KNOW WHEN YOU ARE SICK AND THEY CARE WHEN YOU DIE" that was Roger! You will be missed my friend, all our love to Irene and the entire family.

    David & Linda Parkinson

  10. Chris Southard
    Broken Arrow, OK

    What a Blessing to have worked with him and called him a Good Friend!

  11. Stewart Lang
    Calgary, Alberta,

    Joy and I send our condolences for our co-worker and friend Roger. Irene, Steven, Mary and Pat thank you all so much for sharing him with us - he was much loved. It has been said that "We should remember that on the other side there is a great family reunion and much rejoicing. This farewell we call death and our separation is their reunion and their homecoming." I can just imagine what is happening with the rest of your families and friends on the other side - what a joyous gathering it is. There will be a celebration of life on both sides of the veil. All our love - Stewart & Joy Lang.

  12. Tom Smithey
    Flower Mound, TX

    Dad, you are going to be greatly missed. Until we meet again, keep those bass'a'bitin!

    Your son

  13. Kathy Meadows
    Coweta, OK

    Thinking of you so sorry for your loss

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