Richard H. 'Smitty' or 'Dick' Smith

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Richard Henry Smith, age 79, devoted husband and father, died peacefully, in the company of his family, on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015 in Boise. He had suffered from COPD for many years.

The fourth of six children, Dick was born on Nov. 27, 1935, in Kansas City, Mo., to Claude Cecil and Gretchen Monica Smith. His mother said he was a Thanksgiving Day blessing the day he was born and every day after as well.

As a child, Dick and his family lived on a farm and operated a sawmill near Dedrick, Mo. He always said this gave him "plenty of opportunity" to milk six cows by hand and haul firewood at night for the cook stove and the heaters.

His family lived on the farm until 1947 when they departed to Filer, Idaho, where he graduated from Filer High School in 1954. He made lifelong friends at Filer High School and always so looked forward to and enjoyed his class reunions.

After graduation, Dick joined the United States Navy, which sent him to Pensacola, Fla. to study to become a Naval Aviator. While in flight school, this handsome and dashing young aviation cadet from Idaho met Lois Lourine Mallette, a feisty Southern belle from Mobile, Ala.

She at first resisted his charms thinking he was much too young for her (he was nine months younger than she); that he was one of those "Fly Boys" and not to be trusted with her heart; and most damning of all, he was a Yankee! Despite her best efforts to resist him, they quickly fell in love and were married on Thanksgiving Day, 1956, in Houston, Texas, with her brother, Neil, and his wife, Thelma, serving as witnesses.

They enjoyed 55 years of marriage together until Lois passed away in 2011. After losing her, Dick missed Lois every day of his life and often spoke lovingly of her. He looked forward to rejoining her so they could play pinochle together and she could once again tease him about being "older and wiser" than he.

After finishing his enlistment in the Navy, Dick and Lois headed west. They lived in Oregon, New Mexico, Montana, Idaho and Arizona, where Dick worked on the railroad as a fireman, doing construction and welding, building the missile base in Mountain Home and serving as a maintenance supervisor for a copper mine. Dick and Lois always had fun wherever they lived, hosting card games, water skiing and boating, and helping start a western horseback riding club in Arizona.

A little over 40 years ago, Dick and Lois returned to Mountain Home to live near family and work on several business ventures including farming and operating a sawmill. Dick ultimately retired from the Simplot Company after nearly 20 years serving as a plant maintenance foreman.

In April 2011, Dick and Lois moved to Boise to be closer to their children. Most recently, Dick had been a thriving and energetic resident of the Idaho State Veteran's Home in Boise where he was beloved by both staff and his fellow residents.

One of the great sorrows of Dick and Lois's lives was the death of their first born son, Richard Henry Smith Jr., after only a few days of life. They welcomed four other children over the next 17 years: Monica Smith Jaszkowski (husband Mark) of Boise; LeTicia Smith Hallstead (husband Mark) of Meridian; Justin Cole Smith (wife Benchawi) of Renton, Wash.; and Jason Eric Smith (wife Brooke) of Meridian.

Dick was again heart-stricken in October 2013 at the sudden loss of Monica, his eldest daughter and from the time she was little, his closest buddy.

He always proclaimed that his children were his greatest joy and his most important accomplishment in life. We, his children, always knew that we were the lucky ones and were incredibly blessed to have been so loved by a man as wonderful as Daddy.

Dick was a very engaged and involved parent for each of his children including serving as a scout volunteer and attending as many of his children's football games, wrestling matches, cross country and track meets as he could. When his granddaughters came along, nothing delighted him more than watching them play volleyball and softball. (He loved his granddaughters so much that he even committed what he considered to be an absolute act of heresy and cheered for them and their Bishop Kelly teammates when they played against the Mountain Home team.)

Dick and Lois both valued education highly. He was so proud that all of his children are college graduates. While he was not formally educated, Dick was incredibly smart and had the ability to intuit solutions and just build or "fix things" with the skill of an engineer. Perhaps that's where his granddaughter Amanda inherited her talent for and love of engineering.

Dick adored all nine of his grandchildren: Amanda Jaszkowski LaMott (husband Nicholas) of Meridian; Sara Jaszkowski Gilson (husband Justin) of Cambridge, Mass.; Sawyer Smith of Bremerton, Wash.; Kaitlin Colacurcio of Helena, Mont.; Carly Hallstead Conway (husband Kirk) of Prince Frederick, Md.; Daniel Hallstead of Washington, D.C.; and Austin, Hunter and Aubrianna Smith of Meridian. He was also the proud Great Grandfather of Declan John LaMott of Meridian and Joy Evelyn and Grace Marie Conway of Prince Frederick, Md.

In addition to his beloved children and grandchildren, Dick is survived by his sisters Doris Jenkins and Sue Brown and his brother Mike Smith as well as several dear nieces and nephews.

Dick never met a stranger. Instead, you were just a friend he hadn't met yet. He was truly kind and the most loving and giving of men. He was in every sense of the word a gentleman who looked for and found the best in everyone.

He was generous to a fault. Nothing made him happier than helping someone out or giving something (preferably something he had made personally) to another he thought needed it or would enjoy it. He was a man of tremendous faith who lived the beliefs of his Catholic religion every day. Fully believing in the Resurrection, at the end of his life, Dick was at peace and looking forward to reuniting with Lois, Monica, and baby son Ricky.

We are accepting that Daddy is in a much better place and no longer suffering but we will miss him forever. The world is a much dimmer place without him in it.

A Vigil and praying of the Rosary will be held at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, at St. Mark's Catholic Church in Boise. The Funeral Mass will be held at noon on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, at St. Mark's Catholic Church. A reception will follow the Mass.

He will be buried privately at Mountain View Cemetery in Mountain Home. If you wish, in lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to an organization that was especially dear to Dick's heart, the Idaho Veterans Assistance League at P.O. Box 7191, Boise, ID 83707. This is a 501 (c) (3) not for profit corporation that qualifies as a charitable deduction. Please mark any donations: IMO Richard Smith and note the donation is intended for the Craft Room at the Idaho State Veteran's Home.

Arrangements are under the care of Rost Funeral Home, McMurtrey Chapel in Mountain Home.