Rich Smith, age 105, of Philip, South Dakota, died on Wednesday, August 30, 2023 at the Scotchman Living Center in Philip.
Charles Richard Smith, age 105, of Philip, South Dakota, died Wednesday, August 30, 2023 at the Scotchman Living Center in Philip.
Richard was born on October 22, 1917 at his father’s homestead located near Grindstone SD. He was the third son born to John Roy and Roxey (Berry) Smith. His Mother passed away when he was three years old. He was cared for by various neighbors and family members until his father remarried in 1923 to Norma Hicks. To this union six children were born.
Rich attended rural country school through the eighth grade. He continued to educate himself throughout his lifetime and was a whiz at doing math in his head. When he graduated 8th grade, he went directly into the adult work force living in a sheep wagon and herding sheep for his father. As the country went into a depression and things in western SD were really tough, he and his brother headed to Idaho where they had heard there was work. More hard work followed topping beets and working for a sheep ranch. It was in Idaho that he met a lovely young lady and things started looking up.
On December 11, 1937 he married his sweetheart, Gladys Knodel in Rupert, ID. In 1938 they returned to SD to close out some business and it was then that they decided to stay in SD and settled in with his brother near where they both grew up. For nearly 75 years they worked side by side to put together a ranch and raised nine children, surviving the ups and downs of rural life.
Rich was involved with the local school board until the school district was consolidated with Philip. He became a 3rd Degree Mason with Masonic Lodge 153 on March 3, 1959 and went on to become a 32 Degree Master Mason, receiving his 60 year pin in 2019, as well as being a member of the Naja Shriners. Rich was very community minded and believed in helping others although he never talked about the things he did. Over the years people have told us of the good deeds and helping hand that he and Gladys showed to others. Rich and Gladys were fortunate to travel across Australia and the U.S. on tours and some travels in their motor home. The house that he built in 1948 was where he loved to be. He lived there until 2022 when he decided it was time to stop working and let someone wait on him. He moved into the Scotchman Living Center in Philip SD.
He had an amazing memory and could remember people and events from his early childhood. He enjoyed visiting with everyone, young and old and was truly a walking history book of the community right up to his death. He will be missed by many.
He is survived by his nine children, Colleen (Ken) Simmons of Forsyth MT, Joyce (Ed) Buchholz of Belle Fourche SD, Larry (Linda) Smith of Philip SD, Melvin (Beth) Smith of Philip SD, Steven (Roxie) Smith of Ordway CO, Arlan Smith of Casper WY, Barbara (Mike) Coy of Sheridan WY, Janet (Kenneth) Lurz of Wall SD, and Kieth (Deb) Smith of Philip SD, 26 grandchildren, 67 great-grandchildren, 16 great-great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 75 years, Gladys Smith, a grandson, Christopher Lurz and granddaughters Audra Smith and Trena Buchholz, his sisters Betty Montgomery and Mary Eide and his brothers Everett (Bus), Alfred (Bill), Lee, Wesley (Bob), Maxwell, and Kenneth.
Visitation was held 5-7 p.m. on Sunday, September 3, at the Fine Arts Building at Philip High School.
Funeral services were held 10:00 a.m. Monday, September 4, at the Fine Arts Building, with Pastor Cindy Bisser officiating.
Interment followed at the Masonic Cemetery in Philip.
Arrangements were with Rush Funeral Home of Philip.