Gary Lee Smith “Smitty”, 64 of Erlanger, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Gary loved hunting, fishing, and all things outdoors; but his greatest joy was being Poppy to his beloved grandson Jacob. He loved spending time with him, driving him to school and practices, and watching him play sports. He also cherished the times he spent outdoors with his son Ian, training him on the proper way to do yardwork, fishing, and scoping out the best hunting spots. Gary and his daughter Stephanie enjoyed beating everyone at Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, and just being all around perfect. He loved that his daughter Hillary is just as stubborn and strong-willed as he was. She was his most formidable opponent, which made their bond unbreakable. Gary loved his wife Debbie fiercely, and did everything for her. He pushed her when he needed to, but all she had to do was look at him and say “Gary…” in her special way and he took over. He loved to tell the story about how he took her out on a dangerous ledge in the Smoky Mountains on their honeymoon and scared her to death, but she never doubted that he would protect her. Everyone knew that Smitty loved Debbie, and their 42 years of marriage were the happiest times of their lives.
Gary was a devoted husband, loving father, and loyal friend. He led by example with his strength, courage, and strong work ethic. He was a hard worker who never stopped until the job was done; and then he would find something else that needed to be done and do that too. He worked hard to make sure his family had everything they ever needed. Gary was a stoic man, but a softie deep down. He never forgot birthdays or special occasions, and never failed to bring flowers to his wife, mother, and daughters.
He is survived by the love of his life and wife of 42 years, Debbie; children, Stephanie (Rick) Ballard, Ian Smith, and Hillary Smith; grandson, Jacob Bock; mother, Wilma Smith; sisters, Marilyn (Pat) Helmer and Denise Smith; and many in-laws, nieces, nephews, loving friends and family too numerous to list, but not forgotten. Gary was preceded in death by his father, Denver Smith.
Anyone who knew Gary knows he liked to do things his own way. He always told his family he didn’t want a funeral, he just wanted them to “roll him in a ditch” and have a party, so that’s what they’re going to do. A private graveside service will be held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. Memorials can be made to The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation at 8085 Saltsburg Rd. Suite 201 Pittsburgh, PA 15239 or to Donate Life America at 701 East Byrd Street, 16th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219. The family encourages others to consider being an organ donor like Gary, who continued to help others in death just as he did in life. In honor of Gary, get outside. Spend time fishing, mowing the lawn, washing your car, accidentally dragging your family on a “short” five-mile hike in 90 degree heat with no water, or driving down long winding back roads with the windows down and no a/c looking for deer. Just be sure to do it all before noon, because “morning is the best time of the day.” Online condolences may be left at www.LinnemannFuneralHomes.com
Gary L. Smith “Smitty”
Forest Lawn Memorial ParkAddress: 3227 Dixie Hwy ERLANGER, KY 41018
Gary L. Smith “Smitty”
My deepest condolences
Deepest Sympathy to the Smith Family
In our thoughts
Lucky to be blessed with a second Dad whom I will miss dearly.
We had a lot of fun together. I will miss you
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