Richard "Dick" James Smith was born on March 29, 1943 as the 10th child of Carlton Smith and Lily LeRoux. Dick spent the bulk of his childhood in the White Bear Lake community, which would continue to be a deeply important place to him for the remainder of his life. As a child, Dick had close and intimate relationships with all of his 10 siblings, but particularly his brother David. When Dick was 15, his brothers Lowell and Roger introduced him to one of Dick's true loves in life, driving race cars. Dick excelled at racing sprint cars and continued to hold his fond memories of racing close through the entirety of his life.
In his younger years, Dick worked for a number of employers, including the Ford Plant in St. Paul and Johnson Boat Works in White Bear Lake. Dick would eventually find his way into construction, and it was here where Dick learned the skills he would need to master his future profession as a brick layer. Dick would partner up with his brother-in-law to form Frogner and Smith Masonry. Dick later struck out on his own to form his own company, Smith Masonry. Dick took his profession seriously, and had a deep pride in his work. Dick would gain the reputation of being a relentless worker, a skilled craftsman and a devoted steward of his company and those who worked with him. Dick retired on his horse farm in Grant Township and would spend his later years caring for his property, his horses, and most importantly, his family.
In addition to racing, Dick has another great love in life, his daughters. Dick was a loving father to his daughters Michelle (Gus) and Shannon (Shawn). Dick treasured his girls and worked diligently to build a beautiful life for them. Dick and Shannon shared an immense love for training, breeding, and showing Western Quarter Horses. Both of his daughters were able to be with Dick and give him their love and support as he transitioned from this life to the next. Dick also had five grandchildren: Jack, Sam, Paige, Charlie, and Mara. Dick took great interest in his grandchildren's lives and made an effort to involve himself in their passions. Dick's family was his greatest treasure.
Dick passed peacefully on the morning of Friday, August 11, 2023. Dick was surrounded by his family and a supportive care staff at the time of his passing. Dick is to be cremated and buried in St. Mary's cemetery on the site of his beloved mother's grave. Dick held her in the highest regard and this is his tribute to the depth of their connection. Dick will join his parents, his siblings Lowell, Beverly, Maurene, Roxanne, and Deanna, as well as other family members and friends as he begins his next journey.
Dick was a father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, mentor, and friend. Dick will be remembered for a number of qualities, many of which made him enigmatic. As he himself would often quip, Dick was a "complex individual." Dick was a larger-than-life personality, a force of nature who could quickly become the center of any room he entered and elicit laughter and joy from those around him with a captivating story or hilarious joke. Dick was incredibly loyal and dedicated to those he loved; he certainly made it known if you were one of those blessed individuals. Dick was a hard worker; when life became hard for Dick, he worked harder. Dick was certainly a man's man, but he possessed a great tenderness and sensitivity. Dick was always willing to give what he had to care for those he loved. Dick had a strong connection with his Catholic faith, instilled by his mother, that helped drive his world view and character. At the end of his life, despite a long and difficult fight against Alzheimer's, Dick was able to retain the true essence and qualities that defined him in this world.
Dick, you are truly loved. Our prayers are with you as you embark on your next great step. Thank you for all of the ways in which you touched our lives and spread joy to those who were fortunate enough to know you. You will be deeply missed, but we all look forward to reuniting with you in eternity.