Cover photo for Shirley Ann Smets's Obituary
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1937 Shirley 2024

Shirley Ann Smets

February 22, 1937 — January 1, 2024


Shirley Ann Smets, 86, of Lexington, Nebraska, passed away on January 1, 2024, at Kearney Regional Hospital in Kearney, Nebraska. She was born on February 22, 1937, to Harry and Marie (Heye) Sprague on the family farm near Huntley, Nebraska.

Shirley graduated from Huntley Schools with the class of 1955. She was united in marriage to William "Bill" Smets at Huntley, Nebraska in 1956 and to this union three children were born: Nicholas, Brent, and Ann. They lived in Kearney and Eustis, Nebraska, and resided in Lexington, Nebraska since 1973.

Shirley graduated from Kearney State Teachers College, where she met her college sweetheart, Bill. She taught Home-Economics in Eustis for several years. When they moved to Lexington, she worked in the Treasurer's Office in the Dawson County Courthouse until her retirement. In recent years, she loved meeting with former Huntley graduates and having mini reunions at local restaurants to reminisce and catch up on the latest news. She enjoyed embroidery, camping, belonging to the Goldenrod Car Club, collecting Depression glass, traveling and playing cards, but loved spending time with her family the most.

She was known for her baking, especially her cinnamon rolls, oatmeal cake, honey buns, and sour cream raisin bars. Shirley had an easy-going nature, was eager to try new things, and was loved by many.

Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, husband Bill, brother Harold "Bud" Sprague, brothers-in-law and wives: Herb (Dorothy) Smets, Jim Smets, Tom (Marge) Smets, Dick Larsen, Joe McCoy; nephews, Larry Sprague, Kevin Sprague, Randy Sprague, and great-nephew, Jeff Landen.

Left to mourn her passing are her children: Nick and wife Jo Ann of Kearney, Brent and wife Connie of Lexington, and Ann of Lexington; six grandchildren: Braden Smets of Shelton, Aaron and wife Tina Smets of Kearney, Kyle Smets and Ana Montes of Kearney, Trevor and wife Jordan Smets of Waukee, Iowa, Hannah Smets of Papillion, and Colby and wife Bear Smets of Tariffville, Connecticut; great-grandchildren, Justin, Jordan, Missy, Crystal and Miah Smets, Jaiden Nickerson, and Baby Smets on the way, sisters: Jo McCoy of Fort Collins, Colorado, Janet Larsen of Loomis, Nebraska, sister-in-law, Ellen (Stan) Garretson of Smith Center, Kansas, as well as numerous nieces and nephews, many friends and loved ones.

Funeral Services will be held on Friday, January 5, 2024, at 10:30 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Lexington with Reverend Eddie Mariel, officiating. The Service will be live streamed via

Visitation will be held on Thursday, January 4, 2024, from 5-7 p.m. at Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington.

Interment will be held at Fort McPherson National Cemetery in Maxwell, Nebraska at 2:00 p.m.

Memorials are kindly suggested to the family for later designation.

Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington is honored to be assisting the family with arrangements. Please share online condolences with the family by visiting:

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley Ann Smets, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, January 4, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Reynolds-Love Funeral Home

106 W 8th St, Lexington, NE 68850

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Funeral Service

Friday, January 5, 2024

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

First Presbyterian Church

801 N Lincoln St, Lexington, NE 68850


Click to watch

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Friday, January 5, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Fort McPherson National Cemetery

12004 S Spur 56a, Maxwell, NE 69151

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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