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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Emmett R Smith

Emmett Ray Smith 1937-2011

My Father-In-Law passed away a week ago and I felt the desire to post something on our family blog to honor him. From the day I met Dad after he and mom returned from California where he was speaking on the Know Your Religion circuit he had welcomed me into the family. I felt privileged that he thought I was worthy to marry his only daughter Laurie. He tried on numerous accounts to get me to run with him but I prevailed and would only observe from the sidelines. I did go on numerous hikes with Dad into the Superstition Mountains. We shared a love for these mountains and the stories of the lost Dutchman mine. We visited Reeves Ranch and Weavers Needle on several occasions. I was never one to enjoy reading but Dad insisted that I would enjoy the classics he taught as a teacher so I read several including Shakespeare, Kafka, Zane Grey (Yes, Dad included these in the classics), The Lottery, The Long Walk, Seven Years in Hanoi, and many others. Our tastes in authors differed in the end but I now enjoy sitting down with a good rather than watching TV. Laurie and I raised our family and dad was close by helping us whenever and with whatever he could. After Mom and Dad returned from their mission in New York dad was diagnosed with colon cancer and soon after his recovery he and mom moved into the house next door to ours. Our kids were close with dad and he taught them many valuable lessons. Dad also learned some lessons from our kids like Riley had control of the remote control whenever he came over to their house and Trisha could be just as stubborn as dad when telling him what he should and could not eat. I can still hear the loud thumping outside my bedroom window after I came home from working the graveyard shift as dad would move railroad ties end over end through our back yard and over the fence into his. When asked what he was doing he said " they look better in my yard." I also remember having to clean out the pool filter every day because dad would bring his dog Sam over and let him swim a few laps in the pool so he could cool down. Dad was called as Bishop of our Ward during this time and he called me to be his Ward Clerk. I learned many valuable lessons while serving with dad. He told me he thought of me as another one of his counselors and would ask my advice on many decisions while he served as Bishop. We were sad when mom and dad decided they needed to move on and they moved to Central Utah. Our family enjoyed visiting their house and the walks down the road to the cemetery. Dad loved to tell stories, especially ones that would scare the kids. The Giant of the Superstitions has now traveled around the world and is a classic among his many stories. We were blessed when dad finished his collection of short stories and gave each family a copy so we could continue to share them with his great grand children.

Here is Dads obituary that was run in the St George and Phoenix papers:

Emmett Ray Smith, 74, passed away surrounded by his family on October 21, 2011 in St. George, Utah after a prolonged illness. Emmett was born on January 29, 1937 in Phoenix, Arizona to Riley Orville and Johnnie Bell Smith. He married Jacqueline Joan Hiland on September 8, 1956. Their marriage was solemnized in the Mesa Arizona LDS Temple. Emmett grew up in Glendale, Arizona. He and Jackie met while attending Glendale High School and were later married while he was attending the University of Arizona. Emmett shared himself with others as a member of the LDS church, high school teacher and coach, and as a motivational speaker to adults and youth. He served as a Bishop in the LDS church on two different occasions and served three church missions with his sweetheart, Jackie. Emmett was an inspiration to thousands of students as a teacher and coach (track and cross-country) for Glendale, Apollo, and Cortez High Schools in Phoenix, Arizona. As the subject of the film “The Emmett Smith Story” he was asked to speak to adult and youth groups across the country and found joy in helping others achieve great things in their lives. He had many achievements in life, including Arizona Teacher of the Year, Valley Forge Freedom Foundation recipient, two time Arizona State Cross-Country and Track team championships, and recipient of the BSA Silver Beaver Award.

Most important in Emmett’s life was his wife Jackie and their wonderful 55 years of marriage they shared. They both have fond memories of the time they spent together serving others on church missions in New York, Arizona and Utah. Together they have raised four children, Rob (April), Scott (Gayla), Rick (Kathleen), and Laurie (Bill) Wilson. Their 16 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren are their pride and joy. Emmett is survived by his brothers John, Bill, and Bob Smith as well as a sister Cherry Gilliam. He is preceded in death by his parents Riley Orville Smith and Johnnie Bell Smith and his sister Jean Smith.

On behalf of the family, a special thank you to Utah Hospice Specialists for their loving care and service, especially Nurses Lorrie and Krissy, and Aids Lynsie and Kaytlynn.

Funeral service will be held Monday, October 24th, 2011 at the Little Valley Third Chapel in St. George, Utah (2079 E 2450 S, St. George, Utah, 84770) A viewing will be held from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. with the funeral starting at 11:00 a.m. Arrangements are being made by SereniCare Funeral Home at 1316 South 400 East, Suite A3, St. George, Utah 84790 (435-986-2085). Memories and well wishes can be shared with his wife and family at www.serenicare.com.

two years old

High School Graduation

University of Arizona ROTC

Emmett and Jacqueline
September 8, 1956
Glendale, Arizona

Dad doing what he enjoyed most, running.

This looks to be around 1962

Laurie's and my wedding at the Mesa Arizona Temple October 24, 1981

Dad and Steven

Dad and Jamie

I had to put at least one picture with dad in his unique way of dressing

Can't quite read the date. I think this is around 1985

During one of our hike into the Superstition Mountains

Dad and I took a scout troop into Weavers Needle by way of Geronimo's cave and didn't make camp till after the sun went down. He showed the boys the well he helped make with some of his friends for an eagle scout project. They carried in the cement and other supplies to make the well so that anyone walking into Weavers needle could have a cool drink of water any time.

This was while Rob was serving in Honduras and a scout's eagle scout project was to send much needed supplies to an orphanage there. Rob and his squadron flew the donations to Honduras.

This is how Riley and dad spent most of their mornings together.

In front of our Phoenix home around 2003

Bill, Emmett, Cherry, John, and Bob
Taken at Uncle Johns ranch at the annual family BBQ

The family in 1984

Mom and Dad with Trisha at Steven and Brooke's wedding in 2008

Mom and Dad at Andrew and Alyssa's wedding in 2009

Christmas 2010
Me, Steven, Peyton, Riley, Trisha, Dad, and Mom

Dad and Rob at dad's last race in 2011

August 2011
Laurie, Dad, Rob, and Mom

April, Rob, Gayla, Scott, Mom, Dad, Laurie, Bill, Kathleen, and Rick

Brooke, Bradyn, Steven, Peyton,Riley, Me, Kale, Laurie, Trisha, Alyssa, and Andrew

Rob, Mom Rick, Laurie, and Scott

Amber, Autumn, Kalee, Boston, Trisha, and Katie
Getting ready to sing Dads favorite song "There was a young Lady" as a farewell

Life Story as written by daughter Laurie and read at funeral service by grand daughter Trisha Wilson.

We would like to thank all the family and friends for coming today to celebrate the amazing life of Emmett Ray Smith. This isn’t a goodbye but a till we meet again.

Emmett was born on January 29, 1937 in Phoenix, Arizona to Riley Orville and Johnnie Bell Smith. Following his heart and a firm belief in the Gospel, he joined the Church when he was 17. He married Jacqueline Joan Hiland on September 8, 1956. Their marriage was solemnized in the Mesa Arizona LDS Temple. Emmett grew up in Glendale, Arizona. He attended Glendale High School where he played football and ran track. It was there that he met the love of his life Jackie. He earned a full ride scholarship in Cross Country and Track to the University of Arizona lettering Varsity all 4 years. He married his sweetheart his sophomore year, having 2 sons when he graduated. He later went on to get his Masters at ASU. Emmett and Jackie returned to Phoenix were they had 2 more children. He was a teacher and coach for Glendale High School, Cortez High School and Apollo High School where he retired in 1991. During this time, he found great joy in helping all those whose paths he crossed to help achieve their goals and dreams. Emmett was an inspiration to thousands of students as a teacher and coach (track and cross-country). As the subject of the film “The Emmett Smith Story” he was asked to speak to adult and youth groups across the country and found joy in helping others achieve great things in their lives.

The Gospel was another great love that he shared with his family and others.

As a member of the LDS church, he served as a Bishop in the LDS church on two different occasions and served three church missions with his sweetheart, Jackie. He embraced the love of Genealogy work. Getting to know his past ancestors and the stories of their lives brought him great joy. Now that he has met them, I wish he could give us the missing pieces.

He had many achievements in life, 1967 Outstanding Young Educator of Phoenix – 1968-69 Arizona Cross Country Coach of the year – 1977 City of Glendale Citizen of the year – 1979 Arizona’s Teacher of the Year – 1980 Valley Forge Freedom Foundation All-American Teacher Award – one of ten awarded nationwide – 1983 Arizona Outstanding Service to youth award – 1985 Named Arizona Distinguished Educator by the U of A – 1990 Who’s Who Among American Teachers – 1990-1991 Nomination for National Cross Country Coach of the Year - Two time Arizona State Cross-Country and Track team championships, and recipient of the BSA Silver Beaver Award.

Things he loved: his family, the Gospel, hiking the Grand Canyon and running it rim to rim twice, Havasupai. Running, hiking the Superstition looking for the Lost Dutchman mine, racing, camping, Marathons, teaching, adventures, the White Mountains. Musicals, Oklahoma, Sound of Music and taking the tour of Sound of Music in Europe. Running NOT jogging. Scouting, Window shopping, following Mom, junk food, Ding Dongs, Chick-O-Sticks, Neco’s, Gum Drops.

Dislikes: Shopping for himself, Boredom, Jogging and Quash it causes Cancer!

He taught us all about hard work and the value and importance of it. The excitement of summer vacations and the love of being together. Serving others and the joy it gave us. He has left a great posterity that he is so proud of. We all love him and he will be missed. Each of us have so many wonderful memories that fill our hearts.

Most important in Emmett’s life was his wife Jackie and their wonderful 55 years of marriage they shared. They both have fond memories of the time they spent together serving others on church missions in New York, Arizona and Utah. Together they have raised four children, Rob (April), Scott (Gayla), Rick (Kathleen), and Laurie (Bill) Wilson. Their 16 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren and counting are their pride and joy. Emmett is survived by his brothers John, Bill, and Bob Smith as well as a sister Cherry Gilliam. He is preceded in death by his parents Riley Orville Smith and Johnnie Bell Smith and his sister Jean Smith.

3 comments:

MamaCheek said...

Thank you for this wonderful post on Emmett Smith. I heard him speak several times and I have owned two of his tapes. My husband and I have listened to them many times and been inspired by them. He was truly inspirational. Our children listened to those tapes growing up and now we would like to share them with our grandchildren. One tape, unfortunately is lost. Do you have any idea where we can get copies of his talks (on tape or CD)? We would like to have his words inspire our next generation.

Kaylee Wright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patti said...

Thank you for this wonderful post on Emmett Smith. We have listened to Brother Smith repeatedly in our home to teach our children, in the car on many road trips, YM,YW and in many talks. We would like to have his words to inspire and help in all teaching situations. Do you have a source where we may purchase CDs? Our tapes have long since been used to pieces...literally! You could email me at pfairbourn@gmail.com. We live in the ST George area.