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Murray Thomas Smith


1939 - 2020
Murray Thomas Smith Obituary
Murray Thomas Smith

Orono - June 7, 1939 - March 19, 2020

Murray T. Smith, 80, of Orono, MN passed from this life due to complications of Parkinson's disease on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, MN.

Murray and his wife of 25 years, Donna Kjonaas, created a beautiful life together, living in Sioux Falls, SD, Fargo, ND, and for several winters on Sanibel, FL. They enjoyed many adventures traveling, tandem biking, sipping wine and sharing stories with each other. Two years ago they made their home in Orono.

Born June 7, 1939 to Rex and Frances (Lentz) Smith in Hudson, SD, he grew up on the family farm. He graduated from Hudson HS in 1958 and attained an associate's degree in accounting at Southern State Teacher's College in Springfield, SD. In 1959 he married Diane Cramer with whom he raised three children.

As a teen, Murray began his impressive career in the long haul trucking industry. Starting as a driver, he worked at various companies in inventory control, dispatch, terminal and operations management, then as VP of operations. In 1983 he was named President and CEO of Midwest Coast Transport (MCT) in Sioux Falls, retiring from that position in 2004. Over Murray's tenure, MCT received state and national awards for safety, along with multiple Carrier of the Year awards from Target, 3M, Oscar Meyer, and Nabisco. Murray liked to say that although he worked in the trucking business, he was really in the people business, and that core value guided his career.

Murray found lifelong delight in cars and bicycles. He especially loved British sports cars. The MGT series was his favorite due to its beautifully charming lines. Many happy memories were from car clubs he belonged to with his beloved MGTD. He also enjoyed years of biking in a variety of locations around the country. When living on Sanibel, he became familiar with the bike trails on the island and enjoyed his bike group there.

Cherished children include, Lisa Bass (Robert) of Orono, Tom Smith, and Amy Parrish, both of Boise, ID. Grandchildren Jessica and Connor Bass, Emily Lockhart, and Blake Parrish were a special part of his life. He loved including his family in his favorite activities, especially related to cars, bikes, good food, and cribbage. On many trips and family reunions, he shared his love of adventure and building bonds with his extended family.

Also survived by siblings Rodney (Marie) Smith of Gering, NE, Gene (Ann) Smith of Sioux Falls, and Denise Van't Hof (Doug) of Hudson, SD, sister-in-law Geraldine Smith of Hawarden, IA, numerous nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by parents and brother Jerome.

Services will be planned on a date to be announced. Memorials preferred to HeartSprings Community Healing Center in Fargo or Struther's Parkinson's Center in Golden Valley, MN.
Published in The Argus Leader from Mar. 22 to Mar. 29, 2020
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