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Keith Scott Smith, Jr.

Keith Scott Smith, Junior was born March 26, 1936, to Leila and Keith Scott Smith Sr. in Chicago, Illinois. The family moved to Des Moines, where Scott graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1954. He attended Iowa State University for two years and graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Communications.

Scott was a professional musician for the entirety of his life. He was incredibly proud of the fact that he was able to spend 75 years playing his piano and making people happy with his music. Scott’s first band, the Subtletones, played in Chicago and Las Vegas. Throughout the years, his bands included The Captain’s Cabin trio, Destination, The Scott Smith trio, and many others. He traveled the United States performing.


Scott played and wrote shows for more than 20 years for Adventureland Park. He was the pianist for Oakwood United Methodist Church’s Praise and Worship team for nearly 30 years. Scott was honored to play at so many weddings and funerals throughout the years. He could not go anywhere in the greater Des Moines area without someone thanking him for making their occasions so special.

Scott’s talents were honored by being inducted into the Iowa Jazz Hall of Fame, Northwestern University Alumni Hall of Fame, and the State of Iowa Hall of Pride. He was also recently recognized as a pianist, performer, and band director for Variety Club of Iowa’s 50 years of telethons.

                                                                                                                                             Scott was the father to nine children: Keith, Matthew, Paul (Kerry) Marianne (Jay), Stacey (Steve), Emily (Jonathan), Casey, Cody, and Grace E. His 14 grandchildren include Matthew, Jr., Evangeline, Maeve, Mike, Drake, Isaac, Hayden, Eddie, Stevie, Torie, Jack, Charlotte, Max, and Adrian.

Scott was a man of great faith. He read his Bible daily and shared his love of the scriptures with all of his children and anyone who would listen. His favorite things included watching Chief’s football, Chicago Baseball, and the SEP RhythAMetteS dance team. He enjoyed taking his boys fishing and boating. Scott lived every day to the fullest, loving his children, the Lord, and the piano.


The family will greet friends at a visitation at Oakwood United Methodist Church in Pleasant Hill on Monday, April 15th from 5-7 p.m.  A celebration of life will also be held at Oakwood on Tuesday, April 16th at 11:00 with a luncheon to follow.  Memorials contributions may be directed to Variety, the Children’s Charity in Scott’s honor.




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