Rae Ellen D. (Strecker) Smith Pfeifer, 80, of Olathe, KS, passed away on Sunday, April 01, 2018 in Olathe, Kansas. She was born March 5, 1938, on the family farm of her grandparents, Emanuel and Ida (Ochs) Karst, southwest of Russell, KS. She was preceded in death by her parents, Edward August and Alverda (Karst) Strecker Mortimer.
Rae’s father, Eddie was killed in an oilfield accident in l950, so she and her sister Mavis had to help support their family. Rae worked at the Dream and Mecca movie theaters, the City Dairy, and R.C Williams Trucking Company doing office work during her high school years.
Rae graduated from Russell High School in 1956. She married Denton Smith in 1957. From that union came three sons: Dirk, Derek and Dustin. Rae and Denton later divorced.
She worked for the federal government at Great Lakes Naval Training Base in Illinois, and also at Kansas State University and Oklahoma State University. From 1971 to May of 2000, she was secretary to two presidents: Dr. Gerald W. Tomanek and Dr. Edward H. Hammond, at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas.
In May of 2000, Rae retired after 29 years at FHSU. In August she married Herbert Pfeifer and moved to Olathe, Kansas, where they lived for l8 years. They spent time traveling to Hawaii, Alaska, California, North Carolina, Washington, D.C. and Florida to be with family.
Rae is survived by her husband Herb, her three sons; Major General Dirk D. Smith and his wife, Mary, of Washington, DC; Derek Edward Smith and wife, Karen, of Charlotte, NC; and Dustin D. Smith and wife, Kristi, of San Francisco, CA; and a sister, Mavis Kingsley of Hays, KS.
Rae valued her family above all else. She said: “They are the greatest gifts I have ever been given.” She had eight grandchildren: Kaycee, Lt. Garret, Jared, Khaner, Dawson, Deegan, Justin and Ruby Dae. She had one great-granddaughter, Kaeva, and one great-grandson, Levi. She had two stepchildren, five step-grandchildren and two step-great-grandchildren.
A celebration of Rae Ellen's life will be held at 10:30 A.M. on Friday, April 06, 2018, at the St. John Lutheran Church in Russell, Kansas, with Pastor Roger Dennis officiating. Burial will follow at the St. John Lutheran Cemetery in Russell. Visitation will be from 2 P.M. to 8 P.M. on Thursday, April 05, 2018, at the mortuary with family greeting guests from 6 P.M. to 7 P.M. Thursday evening. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to FHSU Foundation, Rae Ellen (Smith) Pfeifer Graphic Design Scholarship and can be sent in care of the mortuary. Pohlman-Varner-Peeler Mortuary of Russell, Kansas, is in charge of the funeral service arrangements.