Collins Ford “Colonel” Kindred passed away peacefully at 99 years of age in his home with his wife Lou and daughters Carolyn and Valerie close by as well his longtime caregivers. Caregivers Sandy Houston, Jeannie Webb and Jodi Megenhauser lovingly provided care for him. Colonel was born on March 19, 1921, to Elizabeth Adams Kindred and Collins C. Kindred in Smithville, the 2nd of 4 children.
He is survived by his loving wife, Loula Bethene; his daughters and son-in-law, Carolyn Major, Valerie McClellan & Bob McClellan; and his grandchildren, Rhett Major, Kara Major, Erin Maconachy, her husband Drew Maconachy and Kelsey McClellan; as well as his official thistle sprayer and honorary grandkids, Kristy & Logan MacPhail.
He was so excited to become a great-grandfather on March 30, 2016, and again on February 27, 2019, when Liam Maconachy and Margot Maconachy were born to Erin and Drew. He loved holding his great-grandkids when they would visit and delighted in looking at their pictures as they grew.
Colonel was a lifelong resident of Smithville and 5th generation Clay County resident. He graduated from Smithville High School in 1939. During high school, Colonel was active in Boy Scouts and earned the distinction of Eagle Scout, being awarded that high honor by Senator Harry Truman. He also was active in several different sports, playing both football and basketball. He was a longtime member of Smithville Christian Church, willingly attending since he was 8 years old. Colonel had an excellent singing voice and was a longtime member of the church choir, even attending the Conservatory of Music in KC for voice training.
Upon graduation in 1939, he had been nominated by then-Sen. Harry S. Truman as an alternate to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, but due to his color blindness, he could not enter the flight training program. He chose to start his college career at William Jewell College in Liberty, but transferred to Missouri University in Columbia, where he earned his degree in business while working to pay his way through college. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity where he made several lifelong friends. Making and keeping friends came easily for Colonel with his friendly smile and warm personality.
A charter member of what has become known as the “The Greatest Generation," Colonel enlisted in the United States Army in July of 1942, but was allowed to finish his education and graduate in 1943. He entered the service in March 1943, and after training in the United States while attaining the rank of corporal, was shipped overseas to the European Theater. Landing at Omaha Beach as a replacement shortly after D-Day, he served in Pattons 3rd Army fighting across France and Germany in the infantry as a rifleman and mortarman for the duration of the war. Colonel was wounded in action and was awarded the Purple Heart. At that time, he got to experience his 1st airplane flight to England for recovery and then back to the war. Colonel was awarded numerous other awards and citations for his war efforts.
In addition to his bravery and valor helping to achieve victory, Colonel kept and displayed his kind and generous personality during his wartime experience. While advancing through Germany, American soldiers were billeted in German family homes. Colonel always displayed kindness, consideration and generosity to the families whose homes he was sharing, making lifelong friendships of them and ultimately their children. Corresponding regularly, post war visits have occurred between several family members throughout the ensuing years, friendships forged in the violence of war through the kindness of one man.
Upon returning from the war, Colonel joined his Dad in the Chevrolet franchise that CC started in 1922. Colonel became the dealer principle in the late 40s and continued building a business legacy that his Dad started. He remained active in the operation of the business until about 2017, at which time he still went in often to visit with customers and employees, regaling them with history and stories of Smithville. Colonel was quite the historian and storyteller. The business became the oldest family-owned Chevrolet dealership in Missouri and thought to be oldest family-owned in the US as well.
During this time in the late 40s, he also met Loula Bethene Walker, who became his lifelong bride and sweetheart on June 11, 1949. Lou also was a Smithville native, but because of the age difference and the fact that he was a town boy and she was a country girl, they did not meet until after he returned from the war. Besides working on building the Chevrolet dealership, they started their family with the birth of their daughter, Carolyn, in 1951 and Valerie in 1953. Both girls have countless warm and funny stories about their dad from over the years, stories of kindness, generosity, hard work and humor.
Besides being a good husband and father, all of his grandchildren have fond memories of growing up with him. From going fishing in the pond, to getting to steer the farm truck in the field, going on a trip or just driving around looking at land, the grandkids have fond memories. Colonel enjoyed walking the land during the summer months spraying thistles with a handheld sprayer, usually with a recruit or two from his family or their friends. Kristy, now a longtime family friend, became one of his regular sprayers while in high school.
In addition to the dealership, Colonel was an entrepreneur, aspiring landowner and community-minded civic volunteer. He started a miniature putt putt golf course with his brother Jake in the early 1950’s. He obtained his real estate broker/agent license and began buying, selling and keeping real estate in and around Smithville. Over the years, on his own and in conjunction with other family members, he bought real estate and developed many homes and communities in Smithville. However, beside developing land, he had a love for farmland and kept many properties undeveloped for farming and cattle.
Colonel was a member of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department in the late 40s and 50s. He was a member of the Kiwanas club, became a Mason in the Smithville Masonic Lodge and was instrumental in helping start the local Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the local American Legion Post and served as Commander for several years. He was a lifelong “Truman Democrat” and was active in the Clay County Democratic Central Committee, serving as chairman for several years. He was elected to the Chevrolet Dealer Council by his fellow dealers in 1981. He was also a member of the William C. Corum chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. Colonel was inducted into the Smithville High School Wall of Fame in Feb 2016, commemorating Smithville graduates who have made significant contributions and achievements in the community.
Colonel loved history and became a noted local historian, writing articles of historical reflections for the local paper. He was a great storyteller! He was President of the Smithville Historical Society for several years. He lived through much of the history he wrote about. During the great Smithville flood of 1965, before the Smithville Dam was built, he would recount a story from when the dealership was located downtown. Prior and during the flood, he and his brother-in-law, Bill Corley, and friend and employee, Morton McComas, had moved the vehicles and were trying to move the parts and records to higher shelving. Unaware of the rapidly rising water, they became trapped in the building and unable to escape. With the water rising rapidly, Colonel, Bill and Morton struggled to break out a skylight and escape to the roof. They were successful and eventually rescued when someone came by in a boat and they were able to step from the roof into the boat, the water at or over 12 feet deep in the streets.
Despite living such a full and active life, Colonel always had the time for family, friends and helping people. If a friend needed assistance, Colonel would be there to help. If an employee was in bind, Colonel would extend a loan. He was a good man who loved his family, his business and his community. His family will treasure the memories of his love, generosity and the amazing example of his Christian living. His family was the focus of his life and his good memories will forever be ours.
A private family burial will be held with a memorial service to be followed in the hopefully near future.
Arrangements by Hixson-Klein Funeral Home, Smithville.