In the early morning of August 7, 2019 Erwin “Smitty” Winfred Smith slipped peacefully away to be with our Savior Jesus Christ.
He was born in Leominster, Massachusetts on April 20, 1934. Smitty met his first love, Marilynn Grant, at church camp in his teens. They were married in July 1955 and had 3 beautiful children, Steve, Greg and Becky. Tragically, Smitty was widowed in 1966. As a result of his pastor’s playing matchmaker, he had the joy of meeting Colleen Mae Baxter and her daughter, Melinda. They were married August 12, 1967, creating an amazing, God-ordained, blended family. After nearly 52 years of marriage they were still each other’s sweethearts, a wonderful example of tenderness and love.
Smitty served in the U.S. Navy from 1953-1957, retiring as a 1st Class Quartermaster. He earned top secret clearance and worked in electronic countermeasures, tracking and navigation. He was proud of his time in the service and was seen around town sporting his NAVY baseball cap or perhaps the Boston Red Sox, his favorite team.
Gifted at building relationships with people, after earning a business degree, he established a successful career selling elementary school textbooks, retiring in 1996. Smitty was active in his church and community. He loved working with the children’s ministries at church, volunteering at the Billings Cop Shop, and for many years was a trustee at Emmanuel Baptist Church. He had a great sense of humor, enjoyed a good debate and posing challenging questions. Smitty was never shy about asking people if they knew where they were going after death, in hopes of opening a conversation about his Savior. He was a passionate fisherman and enjoyed spending time with family and friends. More than anything he enjoyed spending time with his sweetheart.
Smitty is survived by his loving wife, Colleen and their four children, Melinda, Steve (Brenda), Greg (Jennifer), and Becky, in addition to 9 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, and his precious sister, Barbara Condict. He will be deeply missed. “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” We are at peace knowing that he is home with our Lord.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 328 S. Shiloh Road, Billings, Friday August 16, at 10:00 am, with military honors and reception. Inurnment will take place at a later time at the Yellowstone National Cemetery. The family would like to extend our deepest thanks to Riverstone Hospice for their tender, loving care of our papa! In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation in Smitty’s name to the Montana Rescue Mission or Riverstone Hospice.