Van Lee Smith

October 16, 1934 - December 31, 2020

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Saturday, September 04, 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Ashley Masonic Hall, 223 West Hobart Street, Ashley


Saturday, September 04, 4:00 PM
Ashley Masonic Hall, 223 West Hobart Street, Ashley


Van Lee Smith, 86, of Angola and formerly of Hudson died Thursday, December 31, 2020, at Northern Lakes Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Angola.

He was born October 16, 1934, in Corunna to Paul C. and Blanche (Lung) Smith.

Mr. Smith retired as the auto mechanics teacher at DeKalb High School.

He was a member of the Antique Auto Racing Association (AARA).

Van enjoyed racing and did so up until 2015. He also enjoyed teaching auto mechanics and was a well-liked and respected teacher. He frequently stayed after school helping students and working on other teacher’s cars.

Surviving are a son, Tony Smith of Hamilton; a sister, Beth (Bill) Hoskins of Palm Spring, California; two brothers, Gilbert (Barbara) Smith of Fresno, California, and Wayne Smith of Florida; and the mother of his son, Laura Smith of Hudson.

He was preceded in death by six sisters, Pauline McBride, Hilda Reinoehl, Isabel Leas, Betty Cox, Jean Knisley, and Janet Tracey; and a brother, Lloyd Smith.

A celebration of Van's life will be held Saturday, September 4, 2021, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m at the Ashley Masonic Hall, 223 W. Hobart Street, Ashley.

Preferred memorials may be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6324 Constitution Drive, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 46804.

Young Family Funeral Home, Hudson-Ashley Chapel, 612 North Main Street, Hudson is assisting the family with arrangements.

Share memories and condolences at

Guest Book

September 7th, 2021 2:31pm

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Traci Surber
September 4th, 2021 9:17pm

Ken Noragon and I want to send our sincerest condolences. Van was a huge part of both of our lives. He will be fondly remembered by us and so many others.

Gayle (Cleland )Asher
February 6th, 2021 7:19pm

Sorry to hear about his passing ...Sorry for your lost..

Karen Thomas
January 16th, 2021 4:26pm

Tony and Laura did not know until today that Van passed away. So sorry for your loss. Now he can reunite with his original family in heaven. He is now free of the despicable dementia decease. My prayers go out to you. Love U both, Karen

Steve Hartman
January 11th, 2021 2:06am
Goshen, In

My sincere condolences to Tony and family. I have many childhood memories spending time at the shop admiring his race car and the racing pictures on his office wall. Van was always a friend and great help to the local farmers and community.

Vicki Warner
January 6th, 2021 12:09am
North Ft Myers, Fl

So sorry for your loss Tony. Van was and always will be family. I’m sure that he and my dad are having a good time in Heaven!

Chuck Dickson
January 5th, 2021 7:23pm

Prayers 🙏 to the families. He was a Great man. It was an honor to know him. God's Speed my friend 🙏

Jane frick
January 5th, 2021 6:00pm
Pleasant Lake IN

Van and I went to Fairfield center school together. And remained friends throughout ourlife when I moved back to Indiana in 1982. My thoughts and prayers 🙏 with the family.

Katrina smith
January 5th, 2021 5:28pm

I will forever miss you as my neighbor!! Thank you for helping fix our vehicles, lending a ladder, and great conversations. Rest easy my friend

Richard Wilcox
January 5th, 2021 4:37am

Van was my favorite teacher in high school.He will be missed.

Lance McBride
January 5th, 2021 4:26am
Salt Lake City

Whenever I think of Uncle Van I think about racing. I'll never forget seeing his Winston Cup car the time I got to visit his shop. I didn't get to visit with him as often as I'd like to have, but I always enjoyed spending time with him when I did. I'm sure he's racing in Heaven's circuit now. The Victory Lap.........The Fallen Racer's Tribute By Kim Ingle God, You saw fit to make me a racer Racing around the track of life, I'm so glad I'm on this circuit With my friends, my family and my Wife. Though the track is sometimes slippery and it's not always real well lit, For the most part, I've been competitive and I've really enjoyed the trip. I didn't think it would be perfect Free from yellows, free from repair, But I'm circling that race track Finding much enjoyment there. The white flag is waving Life's track is way to quick, Four turns and I'll be finished I'll meet you in my pit. Now, I have YOU as my crew chief I'm racing on heaven's track, I look forward to taking the checkered And driving my Victory Lap.

Jan Brady
January 5th, 2021 3:20am
Pleasant Lake, IN

Thoughts and prayers to the family. I will always remember Van's smile.

Brenda Sinclair(McBride)
January 5th, 2021 2:46am

R.I.P.,my Great Uncle Van. Much love,your Great niece;Brenda

Laura Stonebraker
January 4th, 2021 8:12am
Corunna, Indiana

So sorry for your loss, Tony. I thought the world of your Dad!! He was my Auto Mechanic's teacher!! He will be dearly missed!!

Lana Stoops-Bowers
January 4th, 2021 3:16am

Prayers for all. Van was such a great guy.Had him as a teacher,loved him. Heaven has gained a legend❤

Kim Walker
January 3rd, 2021 7:11pm
Auburn, Indiana

So sorry to hear about Van. There weren’t many teachers/instructors that I could say were one of my favorites in High School, but Van was one of them. I had him as my auto mechanics class instructor during the 1980/1981 school year. Van was very knowledgeable and had the personality to share it well. — Thank you, Van, for your willingness to share your vast knowledge with a bunch of High School kids. Kim Walker DeKalb High School Class of 1981

Chuck & Shirley Hall
January 2nd, 2021 10:24pm
Auburn, IN

So sorry for your loss, Tony, but he lived a good life, always put his students first and kept many from dropping out of school. Van was one of the most decent people ever. Known him for years. He will be missed by many. Prayers for you, Tony and your Mom.

Jimmy melissa musser
January 2nd, 2021 9:47pm
Angola indiana

A great guy im gonna miss you bud i loved talking racing with you praying for you and the family tony

January 2nd, 2021 5:31pm

So sorry for uou loss tony. Many great memories of van coming into the store and our "talks" . Number of years before I retired he was fighting cancer and how he was going to beat it. Great fight.

Sarah Clark
January 2nd, 2021 3:24pm

I am so very sorry for your loss, Tony! Your Dad was very special to so many and will always be remembered.

Jerry and Ruth Svoboda
January 2nd, 2021 2:35pm

Tony and Laura sorry for your loss thinking of you during these times

Lucy Meeks
January 2nd, 2021 3:19am

Words cannot express how much Van meant in my life as a friend. So many memories of working on the race car and learning about engines. We had lots of fun traveling and “going racing”. Thinking of you all during this time of sorrow.

Stephanie Ordway
January 2nd, 2021 2:43am
Fremont In

Tony so sorry for your loss. I can remember staying at your parents house when I was little and spending time with Van and Your mom.

Barb Cassel
January 2nd, 2021 1:54am

I'm so very sorry. I wish I could be there with you. Sending love and prayers to you. Can give each other a big hug from me. Hold and support each other. Don't waste a minute of being together. Love you guys

Jim Krieg
January 2nd, 2021 1:18am
Amory Ms

Tony, so sorry for your loss, prayers for you and your family

Dave Krieg
January 2nd, 2021 12:20am
Fort Wayne Indiana

Tony, I am so sorry for your families loss. Your dad was a great friend. I will always cherish the memories of him. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Heaven gained a Angle.

Michael L Noll
January 1st, 2021 11:12pm
Fort Wayne

Have so many good memories of watching Van drive his really fast race cars, which he built, at the Kendallville fairgrounds way long ago. He was a friend and a good guy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this time. Michael and Linda Noll-Fort Wayne

Denise Rigsby
January 1st, 2021 10:05pm
Fort Wayne IN

I am so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you Tony.