Darryl E. Smika passed away March 17, 2022, at the Russell Regional Hospital.
Darryl was born July 1, 1933, near Hill City; the son of Fred and Verna (Tuttle) Smika. Darryl lived in Hays for the last 20 years prior to that he made his home in Colorado, Nebraska, and North Dakota.
Darryl graduated from Scott City High School and attended Kansas State University graduating in 1956 with a B.S. degree in general agriculture and his M.S. degree in soil fertility. In 1969 he received a Ph. D with a major in soil chemistry and a minor in plant physiology from Kansas State University.
Darryl was a Research Leader for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and served at several Agricultural Service Stations in North Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado. He retired on July 1, 1988, after 32 ½ years of service.
Dr. Smika’s research was conducted on soil water-soil nutrient relations for native and introduced grass production. He also conducted research on dryland soil and water conservation and conservation cropping systems and pioneered research on reduced and no-tillage fallow practices for the Central Great Plains.
Dr. Smika published over 200 articles reporting on his research results. The articles were published in professional journals, experiment station bulletins, government bulletins, progress reports, abstracts, newsletters, and book chapters. He made presentations at various national and international meetings and at regional workshops and local and area action agency sponsored meetings through-out the Great Plans.
Darryl married Darlene Faye Wilson on August 16, 1956, at Pleasant Hill Methodist Church, Ash Valley Kansas. They were married for 26 years and raised four children before divorcing. On December 19, 1987, Darryl married Jennifer Leaf in Fort Collins, Colorado. Jennifer preceded him death in January 2003.
Upon his retirement he became self-employed establishing Great Plains Conservation Tillage Consultant Services. He worked alongside his Father before he passed on the family farm in Graham County Kansas and spoke at conventions overseas on his research. He enjoyed restoring John Deere equipment, and other farm implements. He enjoyed traveling and visiting with family and former employees and co-workers. He was a member of the United Methodist Church of Hays and involved in the Stephen’s Ministry.
Darryl was preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Marjorie Fick, and grandson Tony. He is survived by his daughter Rejeana and her husband Wendell Greene; daughter Lavona Wolfersperger; daughter Tava and her husband Rob Owens, stepson Justin Leaf; granddaughter Mandy (Mandeline) and her husband Shawn Pedigo; grandsons Nikolas Wolfersperger and his wife Crystal and Michael Wolfersperger. Also, two nephews, their families and several cousins and friends.
Memorials are suggested to Kansas State University Department of Agriculture - Smika Agronomy Scholarship.
Memorial Services will be at 2:00 PM on Saturday, March 26, 2022, at Brock’s-Keithley Funeral Chapel, 2509 Vine in Hays, Kansas.
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