Thomas Russell Smith, 70, of Oklee, died Friday, June 14, 2013, at his home. Funeral Services will be held Tuesday, June 18, at Johnson Funeral Service in Oklee, with Father Chuck Huck presiding. Burial will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, at Calvary Cemetery, St. James, with Military Honors by the Plummer American Legion Honor Guard. Condolences may be sent at www.johnsonfuneralservice.com.
Thomas was born June 6, 1943, in St. James, the first of three children born to Russell James and Jean Isabell (Frauenholtz) Smith. He was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith. Tom attended country school near St. James and graduated from St. James High School in 1961. On June 1, 1961, Tom entered into service with the Army National Guard of Minnesota and was stationed at Fort Sill, Okla. On Dec. 2, 1961, he was called up to serve in the United States Army and was Honorably Discharged on Dec. 31, 1968. While serving in the Army National Guard, Tom worked at Scherr-Tumico in St. James. On Jan. 22, 1966, Tom was united in marriage to Kathleen Louise Rettke at the Catholic church in St. James. To this union, five children were born; Michelle, Patricia, Christine, Jon and Matthew. In 1968, they made their home on the Smith family farm near Butterfield. They operated a farm and raised geese, pigs and cattle until 1979. That year, the family moved to a farm south of Oklee, in Lambert Township, where they continued farming crops and livestock. Tom then received his auctioneering license after attending school in Southeast Minnesota. He also attended Thief River Falls Technical Institute, where he earned a diploma in Aviation Maintenance Technology on June 30, 1988. After graduation, Tom drove his 1966 Plymouth Fury to Georgia, where he began his job with Eastern Airlines. Since the early 1990s, Tom has worked various jobs including helping out Paradis Inc. working with some of his favorite people and friends; working for Midwest Technology throughout the upper midWest; working with his good friend, Joe McMullen; and most recently, for the City of Oklee. Tom was a smart man who could figure out or fix most anything. He loved to visit and was knowledgeable on just about every subject; a trait which he passed along to his sons, Jon and Matthew. If his neighbors or friends needed help, Tom was willing to help. He was a “jack of all trades.” Tom made his own hog roasters and enjoyed cooking for people. He was also a friend to everyone and never judged anyone. Tom was a member of the Plummer American Legion for the past 22 years.
Survivors include his children, Michelle (Mark) Tenney of St. James, Patricia Lundeen of Wishek, N.D., Christine (Bill) Braadland of Polk City, Iowa, Jon (Sue) Smith of Oklee and Matthew (Vicki) Smith of Deer River; grandchildren, Jessica (Ryan Stotts) Kalbakdalen, Ashley (Jesse) Stratton, Maisie Januszewski, Patrick, Jackson, Mason and Wilson Lundeen, Dylan Sorg, Corbin and Olivia Flower, Stephanie, Sami, Megan and Carsyn Stotts, and Rease, Rylle, Everett and SunniMae Stratton; mother, Jean Smith of St. James; sister, Linda (Bill) Voss of Slayton; and many aunts; uncles; cousins; nieces and friends.
Page 2 of 2 - He was preceded in death by his father, Russell; grandparents; brother, James; and great-granddaughter, Clara.