Sylvia Isabelle Smith, 94 of Blue Springs, Mo., died on May 20, 2023. She was born on December 19, 1928, in Springfield, the fourth child of S.I. Smith (Miss.) and Anna Bess Morris Smith (Tenn.). She was married to Robert W. Ollis Sr. on June 20, 1948. They were blessed with three children: Robert Jr., Nancy and John.
Sylvia graduated from Greenwood High School and Southern Seminary Junior College (Buena Vista, Va.), and then received her teaching degree from Missouri State University (then SMS) so that she could put their three children through college. She taught school for many years in classrooms in Springfield and Mexico. She was later the society editor of the Mexico Ledger. Upon retirement, she volunteered for 17 years for the Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colo., and later volunteered at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center, Compassus Hospice, and the Southside Senior Center in Springfield.
Sylvia enjoyed traveling, visiting several foreign countries and all 50 states, especially the national parks of the West. Reading was her favorite pastime, enjoying thousands of books, as well as embracing her family’s history. She was a lifelong member of the Episcopal Church.
Sylvia was preceded in death by Robert W. Ollis, Sr. (1976) and later husbands C. Clifford Hannah (1981) and W. Frank Kesler (1993), as well as her parents, her brothers Wilson M. Smith and Ben M.A. Smith and her sister Irma Smith Moses. She is survived by her children: Robert W. Ollis, Jr. (Richard Gibbons), Chicago; Nancy A. Holste (Mike), Blue Springs, and John W. Ollis (Linda), Beaufort, S.C; two grandsons Christopher Johnson and David Johnson (Sara Alaica), a niece Anne Moses Bennett (Bill), three nephews Ben, Robert and Paul Smith (and their spouses and children) and cousins.
A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held in Springfield later this year. Memorial contributions may be made to the Rocky Mountain Conservancy, P.O. Box 3100, Estes Park, CO 80517 at rmconservancy.org