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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Rick Smith

Issue Date: October 28, 2020

The world became a much colder and darker place with the passing of Rick Smith on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. He was born on March 14, 1953 in Menominee, MI to Richard Smith, Sr. and Lois Gunderson Smith, the first born of his generation, something he was very proud of.

Being the first child, grandchild and nephew, he was loved and spoiled by everyone. At a very early age, he developed a love of cars, a trait that continued throughout his life. We teased him that he had Quaker State running in his veins. I really think he did! He was the go to guy for anyone wanting a little bit more out of anything with wheels.

He went to school in Menominee, graduating with the Class of '71. On Halloween of 1969, he met Carole Bradford, who he thought was the most beautiful girl in the world. (I'm not so sure about that.) Within minutes of meeting, we both knew this was it. Also within minutes of meeting, he saw a '69 GTO going down the road and said, "Someday I'm going to have one of those." I knew right away if I was going to stand a chance with him, I better learn about cars. So we spent many happy hours in the garage getting dirty. We were married on June 2, 1973 and never looked back. Rick went to work as a machinist at D&S Mold and Tool in April of 1974 but he never lost his passion for all things automotive. He took a break from the shop and sold cars for a couple of years. He would not sell a car to someone that wasn't right for them. Who wouldn't believe that face. How's that for a used car salesman?

Through the years we were blessed with several additions to our family. A '62 Impala wagon, a '67 El Camino, a '69 Dodge van that we customized and finally, on our 20th wedding anniversary, Rick became the proud owner of a numbers matching 1969 GTO! How he loved that car! I would tell him that he took better care of it than he did of me. But I really didn't mind. She is a beauty! Rick retired as a CNC programmer from D&S on April 1, 2016 due to health reasons. He had a rough 4 years, but now there won't be any more blood draws and he won't have to eat any more lousy hospital food.

He leaves behind Carole, his wife of 47 years, his best friend and his biggest supporter; sisters, Jena (Tim) Coffey of Menominee and Jerilyn (Clyde) Ullman of Forestville, Wis.; brothers, Rod (Carol) Smith of Menominee and Roland (Sue) Smith of Crivitz; sisters-in-law, Lynn (Gary) Huck of Liberty Hill, Texas and Connie (Barry) Crawford of Kenosha, Wis.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Richard Smith and Lois Smith; a brother, Jeff; father and mother-in-law, Albert and Pearl Bradford; brother-in-law, Dave Bradford; and sister-in-law, Lois Doran.

Also left behind are his "brothers and sisters" at D&S, he loved you all deeply and considered you family. He also had so many great friends in the car community from all over the country. Our "Car Family" had just held a Drive By for him on the 17th and that touched our hearts more than you can ever know. Thank you all!

Following Rick's wishes, there will be no funeral. He's being cremated and we'll hold a Celebration of his Life in Spring when the cars are back on the road. I know he's in Heaven watching over us, playing with the cars and leaving black marks all over the place. You know that tires and gas are free in Heaven! Hansen Onion Martell Funeral Home of Marinette is assisting the family.

I'd like to thank Dr. Yasser Salem, Dr. Debra Bensi, Dr. Siddesh Besur and Dr. Peter Stanko and their staffs for their care and compassion in treating him through the years and giving me four more years with him. May God hold you in his loving arms until we're back together, holding hands and riding off into the sunset. I'll miss you with every beat of my heart. I love you, and I like you.


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