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Donald William Smith

Obituary
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Donald (Don) William Smith, age 67, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on March 3, 2014 after a brief battle with cancer. While surrounded by family and listening to his favorite southern gospel hymns, as if right on cue, he took his last earthly breath on the final note of his favorite hymn, "I'll Fly Away". Don was born on January 23, 1947 to William and Georgia (Loomis) Smith in Bellingham, Washington. He lived two years on Orcas Island before moving with his family to Lynden in 1949. He graduated from Lynden High School in 1965, and Mt. Hood Community College in 1970 with an Associate of Science Degree in Funeral Services. He married Marlene DeGroot on September 15, 1967. Together they had five children whom he loved dearly. Rarely was there a concert, school program or sporting event he would miss. His love for his family was abundant, and his dedication evident. He was a beloved father and grandfather and brought much happiness to the lives of his children and grandchildren. On January 31, 2013, he married the love of his life, Nyla (Van Soest) Smith. Together they shared many happy memories and enjoyed traveling together - especially their times in Arizona. Don was a pillar in the Lynden community. He had a heart for serving others and helping make his community a better place. He purchased Gillies Funeral Home in 1975 and with great honor, compassion, respect and kindness, he proudly served the families of Lynden for nearly 40 years during their times of loss. Don served on the Lynden City Council from 1978-1981 and was a volunteer for the Lynden Fire Department for 10 years. He also served 19 years on the Lynden School District Board of Directors from 1983- 2002. Don had a great passion for life and always lived it to the fullest. He jumped at the opportunity to participate in activities such as sky-diving, bungee jumping, and bobsledding down an Olympic track. He also bicycled in the Tour de Whatcom and Seattle-to-Portland bike rides. One of his great loves was flying and he received his commercial pilot's license in 1982. He also found much joy in the 8 years he spent traveling to tractor pulls with his friends and family, driving his bright orange, unlimited modified Allis Chalmers pulling tractor "High Energy". Don's love for football both on and off the field was great. He was a member of the Whatcom Skagit Island Football Officials Association and officiated high school football games for a combined total of 18 seasons. Don was a season ticket holder for University of Washington football program for over 30 years and it could be said he bled purple and gold. Don loved treating friends and family to football games and tailgating parties and especially loved joking with his "wayward" family and friends who were WSU Cougar fans. It was not uncommon to hear him exclaim "Go Dawgs!" or provide a personal rendition of the UW fight song, "Bow Down to Washington". He was fondly referred to by his grandchildren as "Grandpa Husky". Don also had a gift of music and performing. He spent several years performing as "Grandpa" in the lead role of Word of Life Church's Easter production "The Promise". He also was a member of the Kings Men of Song for many years and served as their Director from 2002 to 2012. It brought him much joy to be able to share the love of Jesus through his performances. Don loved to socialize and make people laugh, and often found himself as the center of attention. He met daily with "the guys" for morning coffee where they'd solve thd solve the world's problems, meanwhile developing dear friendships. Don will be missed by many and fondly remembered for his compassion, generosity, kind heart, quick wit, great sense of humor, and his boisterous laugh. Don is survived by his wife Nyla of Lynden; his children, son Mylon Smith and his wife Shannon of Blaine, son Aaron Smith of Portland, daughter Shara Smith of Bellingham, daughter Tracy Berg and husband Kurt, and daughter Tammy Magrath and husband Paul, all of Fife; six grandchildren, Maleah, Landon, Micah, Lane, Jaxon and Kenley, and another granddaughter due April 6, 2014; and two great-grandchildren, Karter and Kinzie. Additionally he is survived by his mother Georgia Smith of Lynden, sister Ethel and husband Ed of Lynden, brother Craig and wife Deborah of San Marcos, CA, step-daughter Krista and husband Josh O'Byrne of Olympia and their daughters Kennedy and Kamryn, step-son Jamie and wife Larissa Van Soest of Everson and their children Macaulay, Kassidy, Kensley and Tucker, and step-son Brandon Van Soest of Lynden, as well as numerous other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his father, William Smith. Visitation will be held at Gillies Funeral Home on Sunday, March 9, 2014 from 4:00 - 7:00 pm. A Funeral Service will be held on Monday, March 10, 2014 at 3:00 pm in the Henry Jansen Agricultural Center at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds, 1775 Front Street, Lynden, WA. A private Graveside Service will follow on Tuesday March 11, 2014. Memorials in Don's name can be made to: The Donald Smith Memorial Fund at any US Bank Branch. You are invited to share your memories and condolences by signing the online guestbook at www.gilliesfuneralhome.com.

Published in Bellingham Herald on Mar. 7, 2014
Funeral Home
Gillies Funeral Home
202 Front Street Lynden, WA 98264
(360) 354-4428
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