Cover photo for Ethan Smith's Obituary
Ethan Smith Profile Photo

Ethan Smith

November 19, 1991 — July 4, 2021

Caney, Kansas

Ethan Smith

On April fools of 1991 Ethan Michael Smith’s parents found out that he would be making his arrival into this world as their second born child. Grady A. Smith and Donna (Littlejohn) Smith welcomed Ethan into this world on Tuesday, November 19, 1991, in Coffeyville, Kansas.

On July 4, 2021, at the age of 29 Ethan’s journey on earth ended unexpectedly in an auto accident near Tyro.

Everyone has a God given talent and Ethan’s was the gift of compassion for people.  Upon his arrival he brought such joy to his family as he grew, he shared an infectious smile and such a big heart.  As a first grader he started playing organized sports and he developed into a tremendous athlete, excelling in football but was also very valuable as a teammate in basketball and baseball. After graduating from Caney Valley High School, he went on to play football for Coffeyville Community College as a guard then transferred to the University of Sioux Falls as an offensive lineman. Transferred to Pittsburg State University, to play football but the Rugby team saw him and recruited him to play Rugby.  Ethan fell in love with Rugby and continued to play until graduation.  After completing his bachelor’s degree in Physical Education, head coach Trenton Kallenbeger chose him in the draft pick for the Green Country Phoenix Football Team a Semi-Pro Football team as a full back and middle linebacker; he helped the team win the championship game that year.  The team moved to Tulsa as the Tulsa Gators, and he continued as a full back and added position of defensive end.   If Ethan was not on the field, he was in the gym developing strength and endurance.

Ethan and his brothers could have WWE front room battles, arguments, knock down drag outs but the loved they shared was deep and they were always there for each other no matter what.  Blood is so much thicker than water.

Not often in life are you fortunate to have a good friend but to have a whole group of friends that stick together through life is often not heard of but, Ethan had just that.  In the middle of small-town Caney, Kansas USA a young group of teen boys developed a tight knit bound, those guys could still be found hanging out sharing stories and life together and Ethan valued each of their friendships.

On November 26, 2016, Ethan married his best friend, Jena Standlee and in addition to her becoming his wife, he gained Rhett Baker a child he has loved as his own.  Ethan has been active in coaching Rhett’s little league soccer, baseball, and football teams.  A very important game will be played on Wednesday July 7, where Rhett and his teammates will play in a play-off game in position to advance to the championship game. Hot off the press is the news that Rhett Baker first at bat and he hits a HOME RUN! In addition to a season of great teamwork that has advanced them to this position they will dedicate the game to Coach Ethan.   Ethan and Jena’s little girl Kamdyn arrived five years ago introducing Ethan to the world of little girls.  This was something he was totally unfamiliar with coming from a household of all brothers and sharing life with Rhett.   Ethan took the title of “Dance Dad” with pride, he could be found playing dress up and having tea parties but he was Kamdyn’s #1 fan on the T-Ball Field too.

After Semi Pro Football Ethan started working for CVR Nitrogen in Coffeyville in the Maintenance Department, where he was currently employed until his death.  He was also a part of the Emergency Response Team at CVR and the Volunteer Fire Department in Caney.  Ethan and Jena are the owners and operators of Raising the Bar Fitness in Caney where they shared the love of physical fitness, not only for themselves but with the community.

Beloved son, husband, father, friend is how most will remember Ethan. His first love was for his family, his friends, football and working out.  He loved family game nights, hanging out with friends, and cooking on the grill to share a meal with them.  His family and friends lovingly referred to him as “Big E” and his infectious smile and big heart just drew people to him; the kind of man anyone would be proud to call “friend.”

The family that will forever cherish the time they had with Ethan is his wife, Jena of the home; children, Rhett Baker, Kamdyn Smith, Sterling Rachael Smith due in January 2022; father, Grady A. Smith and step-mom, Debbie; mother Donna Hawthorne and a man that has accepted him as his own, David Phillips; step-dad, Gary Hawthorne; brothers, Grady L. Smith, Brycen Hawthorne and Brandon Hawthorne and his wife Wendi; extended family and a host of friends.  He is now at rest with his maternal and paternal grandparents and he and Jena’s baby that they loved.

Funeral services to celebrate Ethan’s life will be held on Saturday, July 10, 2021, at 2:00 pm at Tyro Christian Church with friend, mentor, pastor and coach, Jeff Wyrick officiating, burial will follow at Restlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Coffeyville.  The family will receive friends on Friday, July 9, 2021, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Ford-Wulf-Bruns Chapel, 2405 Woodland Ave., in Coffeyville.  The family has requested memorial contributions be made payable to the Ethan Smith Children’s Education Fund and those contributions may be left in care of the chapel or taken to Community National Bank in Caney or Coffeyville.  To share a memory or to leave the family a message of condolence, please visit

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Past Services


Friday, July 9, 2021

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Ford-Wulf-Bruns Chapel


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Funeral Service

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Tyro Christian Church (Restlawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Coffeyville)


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