Lance and Steve Smith, a father and teenage son who perished together in the Branson duck accident on Table Rock Lake in Missouri, were remembered for their deep religious faith. The Smith family members are known in Osceola, Arkansas, their hometown, for their devotion to education and their church.
Steve Smith was 53-years-old and Lance Smith was only 15 when they died, according to the release from the Stone County Sheriff’s Department confirming their deaths. Steven Smith was a church deacon and Lance was baptized only fairly recently. Their church community – as well as the broader community – offered tribute to the family in the wake of the tragic deaths.
The Smiths drowned when the “Ride the Ducks” boat they were on encountered a sudden storm that lashed into the amphibious boat, causing it to ultimately sink. The horrific tragedy killed 17 people, including nine members of the Coleman family of Indianapolis, Indiana. You can read about all of the victims here. Here’s how you can donation to victims’ funds.
Here’s what you need to know:
A Man Who Recently Baptized Lance Described Him as the ‘Perfect Example of Humility & Compassion’
The Smiths attended Osceola Church of Christ, where Steve was a deacon. A man named Will Hester wrote on Facebook that he had baptized Lance.
“Please pray for the Smith Family of Osceola church of Christ. Last night Steve (the father and husband) and Lance (the son) died in the tragic Duck accident in Branson, MO. Steve was a deacon at Osceola and I had just baptized Lance, who was 15, late last year,” wrote Hester.
The photo that Hester shared on Facebook is one of the final photos of Lance to exist, according to the post.
“This past Sunday I finally was able to get Lance to do a devotional and break out his shell! Attached is one of the last photos of him I know exists. He was like a son to me and I will miss him greatly,” Hester wrote.
“He was the perfect example of humility and compassion! He cared about everyone. My heart breaks, but I know where they are and I know that I will see them again! Again, we ask for prayers of comfort for everyone! I cannot express how much I am thankful for all who have contacted us and told us they were praying! Thank you for your support!!!”
The church is located in Osceola, Arkansas. “It was a great loss for the church,” Glenn Oakes, a church elder, told CNN.
Steve Smith’s Daughter Survived the Duck Tragedy & His Wife Had Stayed Behind
The Smith family consists of the two parents and two children. Lance’s sister, Loren, is 14, and she was also on the duck boat. She survived and is in the hospital with a concussion. The family’s mother, Pamela Smith, was also in Branson with her family but had chosen not to go on the boat, according to WMC-TV.
Wrote one woman on Hester’s comment thread, “Prayers, love, & hugs to Pam & Loren, along with Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Our community has suffered a great loss in this tragedy. My heart aches for all involved. ✝️🙏🏼” According to WMC-TV, The Smiths “took their family vacation to Branson countless times before.”
Loren Smith Was Called a Hero & Steve Smith Was a Retired Teacher
WMC-TV reported that Loren acted heroically on the boat as she pulled another girl to safety. One woman wrote on Twitter, “I live in Branson. Horrific news. I knew one of the families. The father & son didn’t make it, the daughter did. The mother was shopping. I’m literally sick to my stomach. These ‘duck boats’ must be outlawed😤”
Steve Smith was a retired teacher at North Elementary School, according to WMC-TV. Lance recently finished Osceola STEM Academy, where he was a member of the robotics team. He would have been a freshman at Osceola High School this fall, the television station reported.
Pamela Smith is also a teacher, according to her Facebook page. Lance also played on the soccer team. “He was really good and used those long legs to kick that ball!!!!” wrote a family friend.