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Harold F. (Red) Smith

Harold F. (Red) Smith

Born to Harold V. and Ruth L Smith 12/5/1942. Red died suddenly in Fargo, ND 12/19/2013 apparently due to a nasty strain of pneumonia. He spent his early years in southern suburbs of Minneapolis, MN. He Graduated from Bloomington High School, married Helen and had three children. Childhood polio prevented him from serving in the military. Following an on-the-job injury "as a welder" and re-training in Detroit Lakes. He Chose Bemidji in which to make a home with his new wife, Judy, and her children and to open his shop, Smith Sign Co. Starting out hand lettering-and painting, he made the transition to computerized vinyl as the trade and his business grew. Many of his sandblasted signs have also been visible in the area including the memorial that stands with Paul and Babe at the waterfront. Judy succumbed to lung cancer not long after their move to Bemidji. Red seemed to be one with nature, always studying and examining it. He loved to explore the forests and waterways. Although he continued to buy licenses, he hadn't hunted the last few years as he was finding it increasingly difficult to kill. While he still kept a boat, ice fishing had become favored over open water. He and Susan, his long time-partner, often brought in the new year in a cozy house seven miles out on the ice on Lake-of-the-Woods. What better way to celebrate? Perhaps unknown to many, Red was proud of his sobriety. He received his 30-year medallion this past fall. For many years, Saturdays and Sundays were spent at auctions where he could be found drinking coffee, snacking at the lunch wagon, bidding on items he didn't need (except to add to his antique collection), or kabitzing with other regulars. Unwanted purchases would frequently be found on someone's porch or in their garden as a sculpture. If he didn't know what something was, or how to use it, it was probably a "farm thing" and would be donated appropriately. Having learned in just recent years how to navigate the internet, Red spent many hours with his laptop. He loved big toys and began buying, selling, and trading hot rods, rat rods, and three wheeled motorcycles on favored sites. He had an inane sense of humor. He also had more than a tendency to be accident prone. The two were often combined as a source of hilarity. Laughter was ever-present in his company. A host of physical problems presented great challenges which Red dealt with as best he could. He had begun wintering in Arizona for at least some relief from his worsening arthritis. Susan stayed behind as she didn't feel she would do well in a sandbox. The last couple of winters, he stayed home as Susan had been admitted to Hospice and he chose to stay home as her 24/7 caregiver. This put a new strain on him as she has defied her prognosis surviving long past what was expected. Preceding Red in his final journey, were his parents, a teenage sister Kristene on the eve of her wedding. And a nephew Jeffrey also in his teens. He is survived by his partner Susan Foster, his children: Lisa Smith, Michele(Ron Olson)Williams, Matt Smith, Step children: Lynne, Patty, Gwen, Jesse, many grandchildren, many step-grandchildren, several great grandchildren, and step-great grandchildren, brothers Terrance and Timothy, a life long friend in Arizona Gary Born, and 2 four-legged critters who are still waiting for him to come home from his errand. Red's ashes will be scattered in the spring over Lake-of-the-woods. Family and friends will hold a gathering to celebrate Red's birthday on Thursday December 5 at Eckles Town Hall 4 'til 7 PM. All are invited and their presence will gifts. Light refreshments will be served.