Hundreds of friends and family and the community of Willow Springs came together Friday at a memorial service held at Palenske Field to show respect to two young men, Jonah Smith and Zach White. 

Pastor David Lovan and Dennis Walton officiated with Jonathan White and Johhny White assisting during the ceremony. 

Jonah Garret Smith, a student athlete of Willow Springs High School suddenly passed away on July 30. Jonah was born Sept. 11, 2002, in West Plains to Ivan and Janel (Ogle) Smith; he was 16 years old. 

As I sat there my heart was breaking for all the moms and dads and friends and family, my heart is breaking for them all and our community, as these young men are no longer with us and it always makes many of us ask why. Those answers, I believe, will come in time, so I pray for all that God sends His comfort and strength for all the days ahead. 

Jonah was an inspiration to all who knew him. He loved spending time with his family and friends and was a wonderful, caring son who made his parents a priority in his life. Jonah and his brothers had a special relationship and he was greatly loved by his nephews. He touched the lives of his friends, family and many others. Jonah was loving and kind. 

I was honored to hear all the funny stories from family and friends. Jonah touched his world for his generations and many more for generations to come; even though his time on earth was short he made an impact on so many. Jonah loved football, basketball, golf, hunting and fishing, and spending time on the river. He could always make you laugh and he always had a smile on his face. 

Jonah will be greatly missed by all. As in life Jonah cheered so many on, he now cheers from Heaven for all his family and friends to run their race well and get on home!

Zachary Scott White, resident of Willow Springs, suddenly departed this life to enter his eternal home on July 30. Zachary was born Feb. 19, 2002, to Jeffery Scott and Kyla Colleen (Oziah) White in Springfield. He departed this life at the age of 17.

Zachary attended schools in Gilmer, Texas, and Giddings, Texas, before coming to Willow Springs in 2016. Zach enjoyed services at Crossway Fellowship as well as Westside Family Life Center. His Uncle Johnny and Aunt Phee were a reason to come home again to be in Willow Springs. 

Zach leaves behind his parents, grandmother Sharon White, sisters, his nephews and niece and numerous cousins. 

Zach loved life, enjoyed playing football, hunting, gigging frogs and playing video games. He loved his family, teammates and his community. It was said he never met a stranger and had a smile that brightened the world. 

While working as a lifeguard at the city pool, he easily made friends with all ages. His family and friends said whenever he was leaving the pool he would say, "Love you.” He will be dearly missed by all that knew him.   

As friends from Texas came to speak about him and family and friends, classmates, coaches, one came to love Zach and Jonah as they both touched lives and left heartprints on all. Their memories will live on in the hearts of their families, friends and a community that loved them dearly. 

The message they left to me was, “Go live life to the fullest, love your family and friends, strive to do your best at whatever you are doing. Just keep going.” 

They both ran a race for the goal here on earth to complete the touchdown or make the basket, but their final day on earth ended, and began at the final goal: the zone of heaven with family and friends to meet them that had gone before them. 

They heard, “Well done,” from their Heavenly Father. "Well done, Jonah and Zach. Well done.” 

As in life, as best friends, they reached their Eternal Home at the same time never to be apart again and someday their family and friends here will join them in heaven, also never to part again.

I leave you all with the message, "Let not your heart be troubled. Ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:1-3.  

It's goodbye here for all of us but Jonah and Zach will be waiting for their family and friends with smiles on their faces at the gates of Heaven. I can hear them say, “Welcome home forever.”

It’s been said, “A moment of kindness and compassion can be worth a lifetime of hope for a hurting heart.” Jonah and Zach lived life like this to all.

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