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In Memory of Richard Smith


May 10, 1926 - September 5, 2020

Richard I. Smith, age 95, of Lac Courte Oreilles passed away at St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, MN and went to his heavenly eternal home on Saturday, September 5, 2020.  Richard was an elder of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

Richard Ignatius Smith was born on May 10, 1925 in Hayward, WI and was the son of Fred and Madge (Heenan) Smith.  He was a well-known member of the community.  Richard graduated from Flandreau Indian School in South Dakota and had many fond memories of his time there.  While there he was on the Varsity Boxing team.  Every Friday night they went out for boxing matches.  He proudly served his country in both the US Navy and US Army.  Petty Officer 2nd Class, US Navy 1943-46, LST 477, received 5 battle stars, Sergeant US Army 1948-53 Korean War.  Richard was a gunner on the LST 477 which was a landing ship that carried tanks.  He was at the Battle of Iwo Jima and witnessed the flag being raised atop Mount Suribachi in the final stages of the Pacific War.  While in the Navy, he continued to participate in boxing matches with other officers.  Richard was interviewed on an episode of "Ojibwe Stories: Gaganoonididaa - Serving in WW2" that was aired on November 21, 2017 where he spoke of his experience in the military.  

Richard moved to Chicago where he married Pearl Larson and they had 7 children together.  He was employed there at Hertz Rent-A-Car for many years as an auto mechanic. He then moved back to Lac Courte Oreilles, where he worked various jobs including the DNR, LCO School and his favorite job at Ain Dah Ing in Shell Lake, WI.  Richard built a beautiful cabin that he resided for almost 25 years.  He was very accomplished in many areas and had many interests.  With his past boxing experience, he then started a boxing club when he moved back to LCO.  Richard was very active in entering canoe races where he won many 1st Place trophies.  He enjoyed beadwork, working with birchbark, ricing, fishing, attending pow wow's, travel, played the harmonica, listening to music, completing  crossword puzzles in the daily paper, watching boxing and baseball on t.v., going to baseball games as well as playing baseball, was a weight lifter, loved nature, watching eagles, berry picking, was a great cook, and chopped his own wood into his 80s.  Richard helped build a canoe that hangs on the wall in the Seven Winds Casino Motel lobby.  He loved reading and spent many hours reading daily.  Richard read the entire Bible this summer.  He was raised by his grandparents until he was 6 years old and the Ojibwe language was mostly spoken in the home.  His grandmother had an Ojibwe Bible and would read it to them.

He is survived by his children Patricia Korolis, Carol Smith, Fred (Jody) Smith, Floyd Smith, Bruce Smith, Morgan Smith, and Bonnie Smith; sisters Lorraine Smith and Sandy Bird; grandchildren; great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Richard was preceded in death by parents Fred and Madge Smith; brother Leonard Smith; sisters Bertha Christensen, Marge O'Leary, Beatrice Stewart, Frieda McPherson Smith, Jeanette Lowry, and Geraldine Butterfield; and special friend Arlene.

A private family memorial service was held.  Richard will be laid to rest in Northern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Spooner, WI.  


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