Richard D. "Dick" Smiley

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  • "Fred and I are very sorry to have learned that Dick had..."
    - Lucille Westlake-Peter
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Aug. 18, 1926 – April 19, 2008
Dick Smiley was born in Louisville, Ky., on Aug. 18, 1926. His twin sister, Margaret Formsma, and his older brother, John Russell Smiley, along with his parents, John Samuel (Sam) Smiley and Camille Overstreet Smiley preceded him in death.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Eloise Westlake Smiley; his sons, R. Glen Smiley (Donna) and James D. Smiley (Rhonda); and his daughter, Ann Smiley Conrad (Richard). He is also survived by seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Dick moved from Kentucky to Montana in the spring of 1935. He went to school at Belgrade and Bozeman schools and graduated along with Eloise in 1944 from Gallatin County High School.

Dick and Eloise were married in 1945 -- their family farms were on opposite sides of the railroad tracks and old Highway 10 (now Interstate 90) which ran from Bozeman to Belgrade. After many years in farming, he studied for and passed his First Class Radiotelephone license and took a job at KXLQ radio station in addition to continuing to farm.

In 1958 Dick and Eloise bought KXLQ (later KXXL) and ran the station until selling it in 1972. They expanded in 1967 when they built and operated KWYS in West Yellowstone. At the time, it was the first strong radio signal into Yellowstone Park.

Also between 1958 and 1972, Dick found time for organizing and coaching Little League, Babe Ruth and Legion baseball, becoming president of the Montana State Bobcat Boosters and announcing local sporting events including Bobcat football, basketball and even the famous man versus horse race from West Yellowstone to Bozeman.

Dick's interest in Republican politics sparked a successful run for the Montana State House of Representatives where he served two terms (1963 and 1965). One particular bill that Dick introduced and got passed was the bill changing the name of Montana State College to Montana State University.

Dick ran for United States Congress in the First Congressional District and was narrowly defeated in 1966 and again in 1968. Dick also was appointed in 1972 to be the director of the Montana Farmer's Home Administration.

Dick and Eloise followed an investment in Sky West Aviation when they moved in 1976 to Page, Ariz., where they ran Page Aviation. They sold the business in 1978 and got their real estate licenses. They enjoyed boating on Lake Powell until they moved further south in 1981 when Dick was again appointed state director of Farmer's Home Administration -- this time in Phoenix, Ariz. After that stint, Dick started his own consulting firm specializing in farms and financial management.

In 1987 they moved to the Village of Oak Creek, six miles south of Sedona, Ariz. Dick was very active, donating his time to local government activities, the Village of Oak Creek Association and the local TV translator organization -- Bell Rock TV. He also ran the sound system at Wayside Chapel while Eloise played the organ for services.

Dick was an extremely devoted husband. As Eloise's dementia progressed, Dick cared for her night and day. He took great pains to make sure he was giving her the best possible care, and in many cases, ignoring his own aches and pains.

He was a wonderful father. He cared deeply about his family and was always happy to tell others of their accomplishments.

Dick had a deep faith and when it became apparent that he was sick, he said he wanted to get to Heaven to be waiting with open arms for Eloise.

He had a relatively brief battle with a very aggressive form of small cell lung cancer, which had spread to many other areas of his body. Dick was very appreciative of the care of doctors, RTA hospice, Rick and Chris Warren at Aztec Home Health of Sedona and the staff and management of Sedona Winds. He especially wanted to thank Joanna Dean for her kind and loving care for Eloise and for him.

There will not be a memorial service, but the family wishes that anyone wanting to remember Dick to please take a quiet moment to reflect and say a prayer for this truly outstanding man.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Apr. 23, 2008
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