Don E. Smith, otherwise known as Donnie, passed away on May 2, 2018. He was born in Carmel, California on May 21, 1955. During the first years of his life his family lived in Carmel Valley, California. He was the oldest of seven children, having six younger sisters.
Over the next few years his family moved to Brookings, Oregon and then to Cordova, Alaska. His parents built and ran a family fish cannery business, which canned salmon and a variety of other fish.
In 1965, Donnie’s family moved back to Oregon. There he attended Sam’s Valley and Central Point Elementary schools. In 1971 while attending Brookings High School he earned a letter award for cross country.
Shortly afterwards he left home and was living and working on his own at 16 years of age. He worked in Arkansas and in Mexico.
Around 1980, Donnie moved to Libby in order to help his dad raise two of his sisters. He worked on two movie sets, the first set being “Son of the Morning Star.” He helped make replicas of Native American villages. He was also involved in the movie “Devils Pond,” which took place on Horseshoe Lake.
On August 14, 1983, he married Deborah M. Lindsley. Four years later, on August 14, 1987, their daughter Rebecca M. Smith was born. Donnie and Debbie care-took the Thunder Mountain Ranch up on the West Fisher from 1984-1994.
In 1997 he built his shop and throughout the next few years a two bedroom log home as well. The road was named Smith Drive after him.
Donnie was a man of many skills. He had innate artistic talent as seen in his chainsaw carvings, metal fabrication sculptures, Damascus steel knives and metal roses. Donnie was the handyman of the valley and was often called to rescue rigs, fix tires and plow snow. He could fix, build, repair and weld anything he put his hands on. Donnie did not hesitate to help anybody in need. He was very generous, made friends easily, and loved to be around people. His shop door was always open.
He is survived by his mother, Barbara A. Wyman; his father, Gary D. Smith; his sisters, Debbie Wallace, Claudia Heckman, Rhonda McIlvain, Tosha Thompson and Chris Smith. He is also survived by his wife, Deborah L. Smith; daughter, Rebecca Smith; son-in-law Joe Nielson; and two grandsons, Dawson and Jeren. Donnie left behind many spiritual brothers, sisters, neighbors, friends and numerous nieces and nephews.
Donnie was preceded in death by his stepfather, David E. Wyman, his sister, Cheryl A. Clinton, and his best friend, Jerry Mick.
A memorial will be announced to family and friends at a later date.