Sterling Adam Smith

RUSSELL - Sterling Adam Smith, age 76, passed away May 23, 2020. He was preceded in death by his parents, William Adam and Ercyl Fern (Paris) Smith; and a brother, Richard Smith.


He is survived by daughters, Stacy L. Smith and Kelly L. Hutchinson; brothers, William R. Smith and Larry L. (Lela) Smith; sister, Marilyn Kay Parks; grandchildren Jake (Marisa) Betts, Krystle (Blake) Greer, Noel Gates, and Logan (Stephanie) Gates; great-grandchildren Aiden Greer, Rylan Gates, Britney McVey, Kylar Gates, Noah Bauer and Amelia Betts; honorary son Duane Helwer; and honorary grandson Patrick Henry. Sterling was born in Garden City. He married Sandra L. Smith on September 22, 1962. They separated in 2018 and were divorced.


Sterling worked for Burtis Motor Company and Firestone Tires. In 1971, the family moved to Russell, Kansas where Sterling owned Russell Tire, Inc.


Sterling worked long hours yet he made family a priority. His love of classic cars took the family on vacations to Ford Thunderbird conventions across the country where he won awards for his restored 1959 red squarebird convertible. Sterling loved all dogs, especially his schnauzers.


His daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were his pride and joy. He rarely missed a music, sports or 4-H event if a grandchild was involved. Sterling was an avid golfer, bridge and poker player. He was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, Elks and Kiwanis, served on the Russell Hospital Board of Trustees and volunteered at KOOD public television. He was always willing to give someone a second chance. In 2003, Sterling began to face his demons. He entered Valley Hope Norton for recovery from alcoholism. In January 2020 he celebrated his 17th AA birthday. He remained a faithful AA member. In 2005, Sterling faced his lifelong battle with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. He became faithful with both medication and therapy. He knew that alcoholism and bipolar disorder were diseases much like diabetes or heart disease. He believed that there is no shame in being ill but instead it is an opportunity to grow, learn, share experiences and by sharing offer ease and comfort to other struggling souls. He had a host of friends from all walks of life. Unlike most men of his era, Sterling expressed his emotions outwardly. His friends and family were blessed to feel the power of his deep and abiding love. He was not a perfect man nor was he a saint, but he had a passion for life, a love of his friends and family and a hilarious and sometimes wildly irreverent sense of humor that was as endearing as it was at times shocking.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Valley Hope of Norton. In Sterling's memory, the family requests that you offer a hand up to someone in need, perform a random act of kindness, and laugh. Often. And loudly. It will heal your soul.


A celebration of life service will be held at the Fossil Creek Hotel Conference Center in Russell, Kansas on July 25, 2020 at 2 p.m. with reception following. Sterling will be interred at the Russell City Cemetery. Arrangements by Broadway Mortuary, Wichita, KS.