Richard ‘Smitty’ Smith – The Daily Globe
IRON MOUNTAIN, Michigan – Richard “Smitty” Smith passed away peacefully on November 21, 2021. Smitty was the son of the late Paul J. Smith and Helen Lahti, both of Negaunee. Smitty proudly served his country on three tours of Vietnam while in the US Navy.
Subsequently, he attended Northern Michigan University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. In Marquette, he worked at the Public Works Department and at the UPPCO.
He and his wife, Deanna “D”, bought and managed the Walleye Lodge Resort on Lake Gogebic in Bergland. Smitty had a great evening and enjoyed hosting family reunions at her resort. He was a member of the Gogebic Lake and Western UP Chambers of Commerce and the Marquette and White Pine American Legions. He was an avid outdoorsman who loved to hunt and fish.
Smitty married the “Cootware Clan” and was loved by her extended family. Smitty and D had two children together, Jaclyn and Crystal. Smitty also had two older daughters from a previous marriage, Bridgit (Chris) Adams and Jennifer (Chad) Kielas. D loved to tease Smitty about his “four daughters,” but he had boys with his grandsons: Brendan, Connor, Liam, Van and Jax. Rich had a granddaughter, Samantha, who also made him proud.
Smitty is survived by her brothers, Paul and Don; her sisters, Paulette Samson and Judy Frailing; her sisters-in-law, Susie (Neil) Stenfors, Paulette (Mike) Holmes, Donna (Greg) Stahlmann and Michelle (Bill) Schirtzinger; and his best friend, Bob “Kaj” Katajamaki.
Smitty was predeceased by his siblings, Patricia Zupancic, Susie Weber and Carol Rytkonen; her in-laws, Donna and Jack Cootware; and his brother-in-law, John Cootware.
In honor of Smitty, wear your jeans to the funeral and get ready to tell your favorite Smitty stories. In lieu of flowers (D’s allergic), please donate to the Fisher House on Richard’s behalf or send an unbloomed plant. Fisher House (fisherhousewi.org) provides temporary accommodation and meals to veteran families and we are eternally grateful for the way they took care of us.
The memorial service will be held at the Erickson, Rochon & Nash Funeral Home in Iron Mountain on Saturday December 11. There will be a tour from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., followed by service at 3 p.m.
Erickson, Rochon & Nash Funeral Home (ernashfuneralhomes.com) helps the family.