W. Burton Smith
1928 ~ 2013
Burt was born May 29, 1928 in Portland, Oregon to Walter and Stella Smith. He passed away surrounded by family on Tuesday March 26th, after a long fought battle with Parkinson's disease.
Burt was raised in Nampa and Cambridge Idaho. In 1946 he graduated from Cambridge High School, as a star football, baseball and basketball player. In 1947, he moved to Boise to begin his new career as a carpenter.
Shortly after moving to Boise he met the love of his life, LaRene Saxton. They were married Dec. 2nd, 1949 and spent their honeymoon in Niagara Falls. Burt was a confident businessman, and together he and LaRene worked tirelessly to grow their construction business. Burt met his business partner, Ed Bews, in 1959. Burt and Ed were nicknamed "the Gold Dust Twins", because every business venture they pursued seemed to work. They began by subdividing small subdivisions, and then moved to larger ones. Building and owning commercial properties came next, always with enthusiasm, always with a sense of worth. Countless subdivisions and shopping centers in the Boise area are a result of this partnership; from Cole Village Shopping Center, to Capital Manor and Bayhill Springs subdivisions, and many more. Burt had a hand in developing large areas of the city. Burt Smith Construction built hundreds of single family homes, and Burt was extremely proud of his family business. Burt was a man of his word, and a trusted and respected member of the building community. Burt, along with a fellow group of builders, started the Building Contractors Association of SW Idaho.
Whatever his accomplishments though, he was proudest of his family. If the measure of a man is the number he leaves behind, Burt was quite successful. Burt and LaRene had three beautiful children, Susan, S. Burt and Brad. Burt ran his business alongside his wife of 63 years. They were partners in every sense of the word. His chivalry was moving. In his retirement he took great pride in growing roses, and every morning would cut a bud for his wife. They had a life together that was inspirational. Even these last few days, the love you could see in his eyes for the woman he went through life with was nothing short of amazing. We can all learn from them, our time together is short, even 63 years together is barely a blip in the realm of the world.
Burt lived the American Dream. He and LaRene traveled extensively. They were most proud of the beautiful homes they built in McCall, Idaho and Henderson, Nevada. These were special places they loved to visit and share with friends and family.
Burt had a life-long love affair with LaRene's deviled eggs, Jelly Bellys, and adored angel food cake. His smirk was hilarious. He was a Ford man, splurging on his 70th birthday by buying himself the Lincoln Town car he had always dreamed of. He was a lifelong Boise State Bronco fan and contributor. Yet most of all, Burt loved to fish. His fishing legacy lives on because he taught his kids, grandchildren and great-grandchildren the love of casting a line. His fishing expeditions to Mexico, Alaska, and McCall will forever be the fondest memories of all who were lucky enough to join him. He never tired of fishing, and no matter his age he always said, "I could still fish more."
Burt is survived by his wife of 63 years, LaRene; his children Susan (Vince) Budell, S.Burt(Janet) Smith, Brad(Sharon) Smith; his six grandchildren, Melissa (Rob) Vian, Michelle (Trevor) Caster, Bridgette (Cody) Rutz, Brian (Amber) Smith, Eric Smith and Jessica Smith; seven great-grandchildren, McCall Vian, Bodie Vian, Drake Rutz, Rhys Vian, Conner Rutz, Gwenyth Caster and Jaxson Smith; his sister Nona Widner, his brother Eddy (Donna) Smith. He was preceded in death by his parents Walter and Stella Smith.
The family will have a private burial service. A celebration of Burt's life will be held on April 2nd from 6pm-8pm at the Stueckle Sky Center at Boise State University.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider donations, in Burt's name to The Parkinson's Disease Foundation, The W. Burton and LaRene Smith BSU Endowment Fund, or The Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics.
The spirit and joy Burt contributed to this world cannot be measured and will not be forgotten. Honey, Dad, and Papa…we truly thank you for being a wonderful husband, father and grandpa. Your legacy will live on forever. Dr. Seuss said it best, and we know Burt would agree: "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."