David Arthur Smith
May 19, 1954-April 29, 2021
David Arthur Smith, 66, ended his courageous fight against the evil opponent that is cancer on April 29, surrounded by his family, which is very fitting because family was a pivotal essence of Dave's life. He was proud and honored to be a husband, father, "Papa", brother and son, and was a major part of the lives of his children and grandchildren, even surprising them with gifts until his last days.
Born May 19, 1954 in Davenport, Iowa, son of Edward Louis and Betty Ann Smith, Dave grew up in Bettendorf, spending time fishing, tinkering with cars, playing basketball and causing just enough trouble not to get caught. In high school, he met the love of his life, Barb Sitrick, with whom he would share almost 46 years of marriage and two children, Jason and Jennifer. He was later promoted to Papa, quite possibly his favorite role in life, with the arrivals of Carson, Samantha, Tristan and Charlie. He loved big with his grandchildren, attending sporting events, concerts, plays, going fishing, filling countless water balloons on the deck and even full-on wrestling on the living room floor. An indication of how devoted of a Papa he was, one year he voluntarily turned off the final round of the Masters so his "buddies" could watch 101 Dalmatians (for the 200th time). That is love – that is Dave.
Dave was the type of person who never met a stranger. He welcomed everyone he met with open arms – sometimes literally, as he was a big hugger. This mentality often led to large tailgates and big bar tabs, as well as much laughter and everyone walking away with a smile and priceless memories. He was a lover of the Iowa Hawkeyes, traveling to almost every single game during Jason's tenure on the Iowa basketball team from 1996 – 2001, which earned him the nickname "Papa Smitty". Dave also loved golf, often checking out adjacent fairways before he was supposed to play them thanks to his big swing and power draw, but those lucky Dave Smith bounces kept his scores low. He had a fondness for cars (leading to Barb watching way more Mecum auctions than she ever cared to), especially his beloved 1984 Ferrari Mondial convertible that was all his since no one else in the family could drive a stick shift. Last but not least, you could often find Dave enjoying the incredible view from his deck, listening to music with a glass of wine (or whiskey) and a nice cigar.
A hard-working and trustworthy man, Dave achieved great success as an entrepreneur and real estate developer. He did everything with 100% of himself and wasn't one to shy away from a challenge. During his career, which continued until almost a month before his passing – impressive to say the least – he developed millions of square feet of retail, commercial and senior living developments. His work was primarily done in the Midwest, including numerous projects in the suburbs of Chicago, but he traveled all over and formed strong bonds and relationships with countless people in the industry. He served as President of the Davenport Country Club, on the Board of Directors of the John Deere Classic, as a member of the Chamber of Commerce, was President of the Bettendorf High School Booster Club and as chairman of Bettendorf High School's PRIDE committee. If you were to ask those he worked and served with how they would describe him, you would hear honest and with integrity on repeat. The same words his family and friends would say as he exuded the highest integrity and truthfulness in both business and family life.
Dave did not fit in any molds, understandable standing tall at 6'7". He paved his own way and followed his own rules, one of which was "better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission!" He always liked to say, "I did it my way." He sure did, and he did it oh so well. He had a commanding presence with the kindest demeanor, and a way of making everyone around him feel special, cared for, and loved. He lived his life to the max, he lit up every room with his smile and that twinkle of wild in his eye and often proclaimed, "If you're not living life on the edge, you're taking up too much space." He was smart, funny, loving, generous (to name a few) and was the best husband, father, Papa and friend, with sincere apologies to those who think yours held that title. Dave made all of those around him better and the world was lucky to have him in it. And how lucky are we to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. A visitation will be held on Thursday, May 20th from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Weert's Funeral Home, with a memorial service to follow on Friday, May 21st at 11:00 a.m., also at Weert's Funeral Home.
Dave was preceded in death by his mother, Betty Ann Smith; his sister, Jannine Givray; and his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Sheldon and Beverly Sitrick. He is survived by his one true love and wife Barb; his son Jason (Courtney) Smith of Las Vegas; his daughter Jennifer of Bettendorf; his four grandchildren Carson, Samantha, Tristan and Charlie; his father Edward; his siblings Steven (Ann) Smith, Tom (Deb) Smith, Jeff (Mary) Smith, Michele (Kyle) Hodde; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and a large circle of friends and supporters – all of whom admired and adored him, he made it so easy to do. Rest easy, Big Dave/Papa, your time with us was much too short but you will forever remain larger than life in our hearts.
The family of Dave Smith extends its immense gratitude to Dr. Chandrikha Chandrasekharan and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics – Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center for their dedicated treatment and care, as well as Genesis Hospice for their compassion and genuine support.