Ernest Maynard Smith

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GLEN - Ernest Maynard Smith, 87, of Glen, died of complications of Pick's Disease Saturday, May 26, at the family ranch in Glen Montana.

A memorial celebration is 4 p.m. Friday, June 22, at 6-S Ranch headquarters in Glen.

He has gone on ahead to scout out the new territory and blaze trail for those he left behind.

He would be pleased to know that shortly after his departure, much needed rain and snow began to fall, giving relief from the drought!

Maynard was born in San Francisco on Sept 28, 1924. At the age of 16, he got a job hoeing beans on his family's old ranch, which was leased out at the time. At that young age, he became determined to be a cattle rancher. Maynard studied animal science at UC Davis, but when WWII began, UC Davis was shut down. He decided to go to sea, graduated from Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy, and served as a Merchant Marine during WWII.

His first love was the land and animals, and his second, the sea and sailing. On July 6, 1946, he married Holley Randall, from Irvington, N.Y. The couple returned to Davis, where Maynard completed a degree in Animal Husbandry/Science.

After acquiring a few cattle, Maynard and Holley bought his family ranch near Lodi, California from his mother, becoming the fourth generation on the family ranch. Their four children were the fifth generation on the ranch. Then, California land development took off, and the Smiths decided to seek a new location to continue ranching. In 1964, Maynard and Holley bought a ranch at Glen and Feely, Mont., which became the Smith 6-S Ranch.

Spending time with his family, friends and animals, (dogs, horses and cattle) brought Maynard great joy. Maynard was a true stockman and a devoted steward of the land. He was actively involved as a leader in 4-H, Southwestern Stockman's Association, Beaverhead Conservation District, Montana Livestock Ag Credit Inc., Montana Stock Growers Association, National Cattleman's Beef Association, Society for Range Management, Church of the Big Hole, and various BLM and Forest Service advisory boards including the East Pioneer Experimental Stewardship committee.

From the beginning of their marriage, Maynard and Holley hosted guests on their ranch from the US and many foreign countries. He enjoyed sharing his love of learning more about the land with others from all walks of life, and especially enjoyed interacting with agricultural people from all over the globe. Improved rangeland is one of Maynard's greatest legacies. He experimented with and adopted practices like electric fencing, spring developments and stockwater pipelines, grass seedings, riparian protection, rotational grazing, logging, weed control and livestock management to improve the condition of not only the private property, but federal and state lands associated with the ranch. Maynard initiated the exchange of grazing use on Fleecer Mountain Game Range, working with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Forest Service to improve rangeland health on private, federal and state land, to the longterm benefit of elk in that area.

Smith 6-S has been part of the Block Management Program for many years, but prior to that Maynard always allowed hunters on the ranch. He felt very strongly about providing people the opportunity to hunt and enjoy themselves, as he had seen those opportunities dwindle when ranching in California.

Maynard never had a bad day. He always had a beaming smile and twinkling eyes, even as his health was failing. He viewed everything in his life as a "challenge to be met, not as an obstacle to be wept". He was a man with a strong and simple faith in God, and the goodness of others. Perhaps this was a key to his success. He was an optimistic solution seeker. He made time for people, and he always had time to visit and never knew a stranger. His ethic was to love and care for the land and animals, and live with empathy for his fellow man. He will be greatly missed.

Maynard is survived by Holley, his wife of 66 years; their four children; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren; a sister and sister-in-law, numerous nieces and nephews and a host of friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brother, a sister and one grandson.

Memorials may be made to: Montana Stock Growers Association, Research, Education and Endowment Foundation of Montana Stockgrowers Association (REEF), Church of the Big Hole, Beaverhead County Hospice.

Condolences may be posted online at www.gftribune.com/obituaries.

Published in Great Falls Tribune on June 2, 2012
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