Obituary: Wilbur Smith, 1933-2020

Wilbur Smith
Wilbur Smith

Wilbur “Bill” Raymond Smith, 86, of Firestone Colorado, went home to his heavenly Father on Feb. 5, 2020.

He was born in Bemidji, Minnesota, Aug. 10, 1933. Bill graduated from Greenway High School in Coleraine, Minnesota and received Master’s and Specialist’s degrees from Bemidji State College, Mankato State University, and the University of Minnesota.

He was married to Patricia “Penny” Evelyne Nelson Smith on Aug. 10, 1957 in Bach, Minnesota after meeting each other while Bill was on leave from the Army and visiting his college roommate. It was a match made in heaven even after 62 and a half years living in small communities throughout Minnesota, as well as California, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado.

Bill had a 39-year career in education as a teacher, counselor, and administrator in school districts throughout Minnesota and Arizona, with seven years on the Navajo Reservation. He touched thousands of lives sharing his excitement for knowledge, learning, and serving those in need. He was an avid reader with no topic off limits.

His first passion was working with youth in his community. With this passion for working with youth and his passion for sports he was a coach of hockey, football, basketball, skiing, soccer, and baseball.

He could be found traveling the backroads to everywhere explaining the history of each place as he traveled. He was thrilled to be lost and taking short cuts to rediscover places that he had once been. With his family in tow, vacations were never dull. His hobbies included model railroading, genealogy, hunting, fishing, and camping — with a special love for northern Minnesota.

He was a member of American Legion, Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, the United States Army, and the National Guard.

Most important to Bill was his family and his faith.

His father, William Raymond Smith; his mother, Clara Marie Flermoen; and baby sister, Timothia Smith, preceded him in death.

His best friend and loving wife, Penny; his eight children, Cheryl Jean Jenkinson of Moab, Utah; William James Smith and his wife, Beverly of Lancaster, California; Gregory Alan Smith and his wife, Juli of Lino Lakes, Minnesota; Mari Chris Harguth and her husband, Charles of Frederick, Colorado; Scott Andrew Smith and his wife, Jane of Knife River, Minnesota; Timothy Patrick Smith of Superior, Colorado; Kari Lynn Smith of Firestone, Colorado; Mollie Colleen Harings and her husband, Trevor of Anchorage, Alaska; 17 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren survive him.

A funeral service was held at Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, in Longmont, Colorado, on Feb. 11, 2020 with interment at Fort Logan National Cemetery on Wednesday, Feb. 12.