Ernest George Smith, beloved husband, father, brother, and friend passed away peacefully surrounded by family on January 9, 2024 at the age of 79.
Ernie, son of Clifford and Berneice Smith, was born on April 2, 1944 in Sioux Rapids, Iowa. He grew up in Sioux Rapids balancing his many interests with the work of his family’s farm. In high school, he was involved with sports and music. From there he attended Buena Vista College where he earned an accounting and finance degree.
On Memorial Day weekend between his junior and senior year of high school, Ernie went on a blind date where he met his future wife, Glenda. They and another couple enjoyed an evening at Lake Okoboji playing mini golf. They were married in Peterson, Iowa and were together for 57 years.
After graduating college, Ernie accepted an offer from John Deere Company on their auditing staff. Auditing required moving every three months between branch offices in Syracuse, NY; Hamilton, Ontario and Columbus, Ohio. From the audit staff he transitioned to an insurance division first in Syracuse and then in central Pennsylvania. The job required traveling throughout the region. They lived on the east coast for 7 years during which time they celebrated the births of their sons Brian and Curtis.
Getting weary of travel and time away from wife and children, the decision was made to move back to Iowa. Here they were able to reconnect with family and contribute to the communities where they both grew up. Ernie farmed with his father during that time. When the economy took a downturn, he also started working as an office manager at a local Ford dealership. While living in Iowa, they were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Michelle.
Ernie’s experience at the Ford dealer led him to become a partner in a dealership in Aberdeen, South Dakota. In the fall of 1984, Ernie found an opportunity with another Ford dealer in McKinney, Texas. During his 30+ years at Bob Tomes Ford, he held many positions. His last role was controller for Bob Tomes Ford, Bob Utter Ford and Bill Utter Ford. He retired at the age of 73.
As hard as he worked, Ernie always prioritized family, church and community. In his youth, he enjoyed ushering at the 8am service after the farm chores were complete. As a parent he served as a cub scout leader, helped build a little league baseball diamond, and supported his kid’s hobbies and interests. For the community, he was a volunteer EMT, taught Sunday school, and served on church council.
Ernie felt that to accomplish something was to build something. The family has fond memories of him sitting at the table drawing plans. No matter the scale, from dollhouses to his own house, Ernie meticulously mapped out every detail. He generously built a toy barn, toy kitchen, sewing table, bunk beds and so much more. Ernie especially loved building model train layouts. Each layout was bigger and more detailed than the last. He felt great satisfaction from sharing this hobby with his children and especially his grandchildren.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Glenda; his children, Brian (Arlette) Smith, Curtis Smith, Michelle (Alan) Arvesen; his four grandchildren, Evan Smith, Miranda (Jack) Brothers, Erica Arvesen, Katie Arvesen; his siblings Beverly (Dave Wilson) VanEman, Don (Ginny) Smith and their families; as well as many other relatives and friends.
A Celebration of Life Service for Ernie will be held on January 27, 2024, at 2PM at Suncreek United Methodist Church, Details below.
This summer the family will also be having a graveside service for Ernie at Lone Tree Cemetery in Sioux Rapids, IA. Date and time are yet to be determined.