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Orville Lee Smith


Orville Lee Smith

Former Pittsburg resident, Orville Lee Smith, passed away on 3 May 2023 in Oak Ridge, TN.

He was born and raised in Pittsburg and was active in music, drama, debate, and science activities in the Pittsburg school system and in the First Christian Church, where he was a member. Following his junior year of high school, he entered the University of Chicago and completed his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Missouri in 1962.

Following college, he was employed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and served as senior research and development scientist in nuclear power plant design, mathematical biology, war game development under subcontract to the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C., and fossil-fuel power plant air quality improvement under subcontract to the

Tennessee Valley Authority. He was part-time Associate Professor of Nuclear Physics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

In retirement he was an avid horseman, a volunteer at the American Museum of Science and Industry and other civic organizations, and a student at local colleges in curricula of personal interest. He also enjoyed writing computer games for his grandchildren.

He was married to the former Nancy Rose of Edina, MO, in 1963 and the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2013.

He is survived by her and by his daughter Christy (husband Ron) Groves of Murfreesboro, TN, and three grandchildren, Jesse, Wyatt, and Emily.

Services were held at Weatherford Mortuary, Oak Ridge, TN. Interment will be at Mt. Olive Cemetery in Pittsburg. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Kingswood Home for Children, 160 Wachtel Road, Bean Station, TN 37708. Local arrangements are under the direction of the Brenner Mortuary, 114 E. 4th St., Pittsburg, KS.