Oliver Monroe Smith is a retired U.S. Army Colonel who fought in WWII, Korea and Vietnam and went missing on April 10, 1996 at the age of 84 from his home in Columbus, Georgia. Oliver Smith told his wife, Orba Miller Smith, that he was going to go to the backyard to plant zinnias and would be back in a few minutes. Oliver has not been seen or heard from since. Oliver’s wallet was left behind on the kitchen table and the couple were supposed to leave on a cruise with the local Retired Officer Association. Oliver and his wife were in good physical and mental health at the time of his disappearance.
Oliver’s wife, Orba Miller Smith, passed away on January 12, 2006, about 10 years after Oliver Smith went missing. In the obituary for Orba, it mentions that her death was preceded her husband, Col. (Ret) Oliver Monroe Smith. The portion of the obituary mentioning Oliver’s death is below:
Col. (Ret) Oliver Monroe Smith preceded her in death. Col. and Mrs. Smith were closely affiliated with Fort Benning throughout their lives. Mrs. Smith was always active in her children’s schools, and later in life was a Red Cross Volunteer and a member of The Retired Officer’s Association. Mrs. Smith will always be remembered as the glue that held her family together as they traveled the world enabling Col. Smith to serve his country.
It is interesting to note that on the FindAGrave.com website, Oliver M Smith has a grave listed and a date of death as October 13, 2003. It also mentions the inscription “COL USA – WWII, Korea, Vietnam. According to an entry in Wikipedia on Missing Persons, “In most common law jurisdictions a missing person can be declared dead in absentia (or “legally dead”) after seven years. This time frame may be reduced in certain cases, such as deaths in major battles or mass disasters such as the September 11, 2001 attacks.” Since Oliver Monroe Smith is still listed as missing in the U.S. Governments National Missing and Unidentified Persons database (NamUs.gov), it would be safe to assume that based on the date Oliver went missing (1996) and the date of death (2003), Oliver Monroe Smith was declared dead in absentia or “legally dead”.
Oliver Monroe Smith was 84 years old when he went missing in 1996 and 100 years old in the year 2014. At the time he went missing, Oliver was 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 155 pounds with balding hair and unknown eye color. He was wearing outside work clothes and glasses when he stepped into the backyard to plant the flowers before disappearing.
If you have any information about the whereabouts of Oliver Monroe Smith, contact the Columbus Police Department at 706-653-3450. (NamUs MP # 565)
Charley Project: http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/s/smith_oliver.html