Donald W. Smith
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Donald William Smith (Smitty) 81, passed away peacefully on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 at the Wisconsin Veteran's Home in King. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Norma Jean.
Born in Alliance, Ohio on September 10, 1931, to Earnest and Natalie Smith, the family moved to Beloit WI where he grew up with his sister Norma Jean and brother Jerry. He made his mark as a high school prep standout in the sports of football, wrestling, and track. He held one of Beloit's longest standing records in the shotput in 1949 and played offensive and defensive tackle for the undefeated 1949 high school football team. Recruited by Bear Bryant, he played football in Kentucky before transferring back to Beloit College to be reunited with his high school coach where the 1952 Buccaneers completed the first undefeated season in the school's 61 year history of the program. In 1996, he was inducted into the Beloit Athletic Hall of Fame for his outstanding accomplishments in three sports.
After high school, Don served in the Central Intelligence Corps where he was selected as a bodyguard for the visit of Cardinal Spellman. His tour of duty ended when he was selected to compete in the Olympic Trials for wrestling. He returned from Korea to marry the love of his life, Carol Holmes, on December 26, 1954 in Beloit.
Graduating from UW-Madison law school, he was a trial attorney for the Dept. of Justice and retired on August 1st, 1996 after 26 years as an assistant attorney general for the state of Wisconsin.
He and his wife Carol, raised three children in Madison: Laurie Neuwirth (Jerry), David (Christine) and Sara Schierl (Tim). His grandchildren were the light of his life: Samantha, Sarah, Nicholas, Natalie, Andrew, Fritz, Kali, Emmy, Max, and T.J. They will miss his excellent storytelling, his sense of humor and his presence at all their athletic events. He was proud of all his grandchildren. He saved every homemade card and cherished the stories they wrote. Visits and talks with his grandchildren were the highlight of his later years.
His children will cherish the memories of having a larger than life Dad who could teach them that Louis Armstrong spoke a universal language, Spencer Tracy was the best actor of all and that doing the right thing always took precedence. Boating on the Madison lakes, downhill skiing, family reunions and an annual pilgrimage to Wood Lake will remain as great memories. He always encouraged his children to work hard and pursue their dreams.
Carol, was the partner who made Don's life complete. She was his world and she will remember him as a devoted husband and a great father who was loved by everyone. Because of her extraordinary care, he was able to remain in the Madison home he loved so well for most of his life. She will miss his love and affection; she will miss her soulmate and life companion.
The family will be forever grateful to the caregivers at the Middleton Village Rehab. Center as well as everyone at the King Veteran's Home. Their compassion and kindness helped to make his last days the best they could be. The support of Janice and Fritz Grutzner made so many things possible to create wonderful moments for Carol and Don during the last few years. The entire Grutzner family would never ask if they could help, they would simply show up and pitch in with whatever needed to be done. Their contributions will be remembered and held in gratitude forever.
No funeral services will be held and the Pisarski Funeral Homes of Stevens Point and Plover will be handling arrangements. For online condolences please visit www.pisarskifuneralhome.com Burial will be at Eastlawn Cemetery in Beloit on November 24th for the immediate family and a celebration of Don's life will be held in Madison on Nov. 24 at a location to be determined in the near future. Memorials may be given to the Salvation Army or the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington AV, PO Box 5632, Montgomery AL 36177.
Published in Stevens Point Journal on Oct. 18, 2012