Verne Eldon Smith, age 57, of Lohrville, formerly of Emmetsburg, passed away on Sunday, Dec.16, 2012, at his farm in Lohrville, surrounded by family.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 19, at Holy Family Parish in Emmetsburg. Burial will be at Evergreen Cemetery, Emmetsburg.
Visitation will be Tuesday, Dec.18, from 4 to 8 p.m., with Recitation of the Rosary at 4 p.m. and a parish vigil service at 5 p.m. at Martin Mattice Funeral Home in Emmetsburg.
Verne was born Feb. 6, 1955 in Emmetsburg, the son of Cecil and Jeanette Smith. Verne grew up in Emmetsburg, where he graduated from Emmetsburg High School in 1973. He was very proud to be an E-Hawk, leaving EHS as a State Runner-Up in Track and Cross Country, a top-five finisher another four times, and a Captain of the wrestling team, a new sport at EHS at the time.
After graduation Verne worked in the construction industry, married, and raised two children. In 1981 he took over the 800-acre family farm operation in Lohrville, under the guidance and direction of his dad, Cecil, which he continued to do for the next 31 years. In 1992 he bought 80 acres of nearby farmland of his own, and built his own house on the property. He was a vital part of the local community, continuing his lifelong involvement and interest in sports of all kinds. He coached youth wrestling, and even established a wrestling room in the basement of his home. A devoted alumni of Emmetsburg High School, Verne was an avid, lifelong E-Hawks fan. In the years following graduation he supported the E-Hawks football team as a statistician under Coach Twait, walking the sidelines of the EHS football field. Later, when he was unable to attend the E-Hawk games because he was plowing fields late at night during harvest, he would listen to the action on the radio as he plowed, sometimes pausing the tractor at the end of a row to hear the final play, cheering out loud for his favorite team.
Ever proud of his Irish family heritage, in 2008 Verne was granted Irish citizenship, and in 2011 fulfilled his lifelong dream to visit Ireland.
After being diagnosed with advanced, terminal Pancreatic and Liver cancer in the summer of 2012, Verne retired from farming. In spite of suffering the ravages of cancer, Verne was determined to bring in the final harvest of his career, and he rode in the combine with the new tenant when his health would allow, overseeing the work to completion. He loved the wide open plains of Iowa, and took pride in the work that he accomplished. He was proud to work the family farm and work side by side with his dad. Verne will be remembered by his family as a humble man with a gentle spirit, a strong faith in God, a generous heart with a concern for those in need, and a mischievous sense of humor that kept everybody laughing. When he wasn't checking the farm markets, he enjoyed writing poetry, reading about Civil War history or attending musicals and Iowa Hawkeyes football games, but his family was the biggest part of his life.
Left to cherish his memory is the family that loved him so much: his mother, Jeanette Millea Smith of Emmetsburg; special friend, Annette Duhn of Lohrville; his son, Haywood Smith of Davenport; his daughter, Annette Smith and her spouse Paul Bryant of Jersey City, NJ; three sisters, Carolyn Griffin of Tampa, FL; Celine Collins and her husband Glen of Washington, D.C., and Jacqueline Riner of Land O' Lakes, FL; two brothers, Nile Smith and his wife Susan of Chariton, and Ronald Smith of Emmetsburg, as well as a large extended family of aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, and good friends.
He was preceded in death by his father, Cecil James Smith in 2002. Verne's final resting place will be beside his father at the Evergreen Cemetery in Emmetsburg.
At Verne's request, because of the loving care he received from Hospice, memorials may be made to St. Anthony's Hospice, 318 South Maple, Carroll, IA, 51401.
Condolences can be left at www.martinmatticefuneralhome.com