Robert T. "Banker Bob" Smith (1922 - 2008)

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LIVINGSTON -- Robert T. "Bob" Smith, 85, a long-time Montana resident, known to many as "Banker Bob" or "R.T.," died Thursday evening, March 6, 2008, at Evergreen Livingston Health and Rehabilitation Center.

Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, at Franzen-Davis Funeral Home, 118 N. 3rd St. in Livingston, with Hospice Chaplin Sandy Williams officiating. Graveside committal and burial will follow in Mountain View Cemetery with military rites accorded by members of the American Legion, Park Post #23.

Bob was born Aug. 12, 1922, to Clarence T. And Velma L. (Bright) Smith in Hopkinton, Iowa. He spent his childhood in Iowa during the Great Depression.

In 1926 when Bob was 3 years old, his mother died and he was raised by many family members. He graduated from Hopkinton High School in 1940.

After high school, Bob worked for a small farm bank in Iowa. He did janitorial work, scrubbing, cleaning, firing up the furnace, baling paper and emptying the spittoons. Then he would do the bank's daily books, and when the bank opened he worked in a teller cage. Bob was later offered a job in Los Angeles, Calif., so he traveled to California where he worked for the Bank of America.

The day following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Bob enlisted in the U.S. Army and spent three and a half years serving in the Pacific. He served with the 832nd Signal Corps in places that include the Philippines, Australia, New Guinea, Leyte, Luzon, Borneo, Okinawa and Japan.

On June 24, 1946, he married Bettie Lucille Smith in Las Vegas, Nev. She preceded him in death on Aug. 11, 2006. Together they moved to Livingston, which was Bettie's home town.

After relocating to Montana, Bob continued his banking career at the National Park Bank in Livingston until 1953 and at the Commercial Bank of Bozeman from 1953 to 1965. It was at this time that he was president of the Bozeman Chamber of Commerce and presented a 10-point "Blueprint for the Future" that included "coordinating with the Montana State Highway Deptartment to ensure that Interstate 90 interchanges were advantageous to Bozeman."

In 1965 Bob was a founder and the first president of the First Madison Valley Bank in Ennis. In 1967 he helped organize and was the first president of the First Boulder Valley Bank in Boulder.

Later he moved to Colorado where in 1969 Bob organized a mortgage department at the Western National Bank in Colorado Springs. He was executive vice president of the Liberty National Bank in Dickinson, N.D., and then in 1975 became president of the Montana National Bank in Plentywood. At the time, he was working for Adam's Banks as a consultant traveling to banks they owned in Montana, Colorado and New Mexico.

Bob became president of the Bank of Sheridan in 1979 and retired from banking on July 31, 1987, after 46 years in the profession. After retirement Bob and Bettie returned to Livingston.

Bob loved to hunt and fish, He cared about his fellow man ,loved his country and honored its flag, but most of all Bob was a dedicated husband who lovingly cared for his wife in the final years of her life.

Bob is survived by his son, Timothy R. "Tim" Smith of Atlanta, Ga.; and a sister, Kay (Norman) Miles of Hopkinton, Iowa. Also surviving are numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife; one sister, Mary Anne Urh; and his aunt, Rachel Philippson.

If desired memorial donations may be directed to Livingston HospiceCare, 504 S. 13th St., Livingston, MT 59047.
Funeral Home
Franzen-Davis Funeral Home & Crematory
118 North Third Street
Livingston, MT 59047
(406) 222-2531
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Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Mar. 10, 2008
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