Donald Gerald Smith, our steadfast Father and Grandfather, passed peacefully into his Eternal Home in the presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on May 31, 2018.
A celebration of Don’s life will be held at Woodlands Church, Plover, at 11:00 am Saturday, June 9. Visitation will be prior to the service at the church from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Full Military Honors will be held outside of the church after the service.
Don was born October 23, 1933 in Madison, WI, the son of Glenn Arthur Smith and Hazel Marie (Dudley) Smith. He attended schools in Madison and played high school football. At the age of 15 Don enlisted in the Wisconsin National Guard, and later in 1951, he joined the US Air Force and volunteered for duty to fight in the Korean War. But God had different plans for him, and he ended up in Germany as part of the post-WW2 Occupation Forces. This began his life-long interest in the German culture and language. Having learned some German from his older brother, he learned to speak it fluently overseas, a skill he maintained the rest of his life.
Don returned to the States in the summer of 1954. While attending a church service with his Mother, he saw Zannie June Spencer and declared “That’s the girl I am going to marry.” Three months later, on October 23, 1954 at Bible Fellowship Church in Madison, WI the two were wed. They shared life together for over 61 years until she preceded him in death in 2016. Don dedicated his time and attention to care for her in her last years at home.
Don and Zannie lived in Madison where Don worked in the Oscar Meyer Art Department as a Camera Man and as a mail carrier for the US Postal Service. In 1962 they moved to Stevens Point where Don was a cameraman and later a manager in the Preparatory Department at Worzalla Publishing Company for 13 years. His experience and expertise led to his final professional position: Manager of the Printing Department at Sentry Insurance. As a member of the Northeastern Wisconsin Chapter of the In-Plant Printing Management Association he was voted “Manager of the Year” and earned lifetime certification as a “Certified In-Plant Printing Manager.” During his 15 years at Sentry, his department earned 63 awards in world-wide printing contests. Don was proud of his accomplishments and was even more proud of the people he worked with and was honored to have invested in their lives.
Don had a strong faith in Jesus Christ and a passion and gift for explaining that faith. He knew through grace he was saved and wanted others to join him in eternal life. At various churches, he taught Sunday School, preached sermons, and served in church leadership. He enjoyed passing on advice, wisdom, Scripture, and the Gospel. He impacted and inspired untold numbers of people, up to his last days.
Don also considered it his mission to pass on some of himself to his five children and later his 34 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He enjoyed camping, fishing, hunting, collecting, getting a good deal, making something out of nothing, military history, woodworking, making bird houses and playing cribbage. He did everything “right now”, and preferred to do it with a family member or two by his side. He is already missed for his passion, his counsel, his humor, and his love of life.
Don was preceded in death by his beloved wife Zannie, his parents, his brothers Bud, Bob, and Bill, and his sisters Ruth and Dorothy.
Survivors include his children Cheryl (Timothy) Brady, Robin Smith-Weaver (Rob Weaver), Tammy Smith (Russ Hessler), Glenn (Beth) Smith and Don (Debbie) Smith. His grandchildren are Jeremy Brady, Heidel (Kevin) Kropp, Carmella Brady-Schuff (Chris Schuff), Daniel (Nobuko) Brady, Brandon (Desiree) Weaver, Nathan (Dana) Weaver, Spencer (Christy) Weaver, Dylan (Sarah) Weaver, Rozanna Weaver, Strauther Weaver, Isaac Weaver, Whitney (Ben) Smith, Krisiti (Walker) Higgins, Emily (Jim) Koth, Winter Smith, Victoria (James) Lettow, McKenzie (Matthew) Hunt, Crystal (Steven) Staryk, Donnie Smith, Elizabeth Smith, and Ben Smith. Great Grandchilden are Gabriella, Aliyah and Baby Kropp along with Liam, Caralee, Ephraim, Lanae’ Hannai, Nashiaia, Kelan, Lanora, Vera, Olivia and Mariah Weaver. He is also survived by brother Jack (Sharon) Smith, sister Diane (Roger) Moyer, sister-in-law Nancy Dehn and brother-in-law Marshall (Paula) Spencer and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, Don asked that gifts be given in his name to “In Touch Ministries” or “Samaritan’s Purse”. Donations can be made out to either of these ministries.