Unvaccinated Ash Grove doctor claimed by COVID

Steve Chapman

Dr. Smith remembered as caring, compassionate physician
Several people are grieving following the death of a beloved Ash Grove physician. Dr. Mark Ross Smith, a doctor who was in practice at the Ash Grove Family Medical Center and the former medical director of the Ash Grove Healthcare Facility, died on Thursday, Aug. 5. He was 52.
Alberta Williams, Smith’s mother, said in a message that after he graduated from high school, Smith attended Oklahoma State University, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Afterward, he earned an MD at the MU School of Medicine.
According to a message from Smith’s ex-wife, Traci Hansen, he became ill after contracting the Delta variant of the Covid virus while unvaccinated. Williams also stated in her message that Smith died of the Delta variant. Both women encouraged people to get vaccinated, wear face masks and maintain social distance.
Several of Dr. Smith’s patients remembered him for the care he demonstrated as a doctor. Amanda Hadley, for example, said Smith care for his patients extended beyond the examining room.
“Dr. Smith truly cared about his patients’ lives,” she said. “Not just their health, but also about their families. He was a great doctor because he cared so much.”
Jennifer Fauntz-Steeley had a similar memory of him.
“Dr. Smith was not just a good doctor, but more like an old friend,” she said. “When you went to see him, he genuinely cared about how you felt. He actually took the time to hear you out.”
Debbei Nateghi said losing Smith had been a blow to her entire family.
“(I), along with my husband, David and our son, Ryan are just trying to find the best way to cope with Dr. Smith’s sudden death,” she said. “He was our family doctor, and we loved him like family.”
Nateghi said Smith had just spoken with Ryan about watching him grow up.
“We saw him four weeks ago,” she said, “and I remember him patting my son on the back, telling him how proud he was of the young man he had grown up to be and couldn’t believe he was now a senior about to graduate. He was reminiscing how little Ryan was when he first started caring for him, and now he is so grown up. He said it was a privilege to know Ryan and to be his doctor. He told our son he was looking forward to watching him play football this season and couldn’t wait to attend his games.”
Kim Krasser-McThompson said Smith would be practically impossible to replace.
“He listened to everything you told him,”she said. “He didn’t just hear it; he listened. He cared, and he remembered. I’ve had a lot of doctors, unfortunately, (but) I’d never had one like him and probably never will again.”
Krasser-McThompson said she had been in touch with Williams; she said Williams told her it was Smith’s wish that his body be cremated and the ashes scattered at the farm he grew up on in Oklahoma, followed by a family-only gathering in the winter.


Lawrence County Record

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