MILTONA, Minn. -- Bruce Roland Smith, 87, of Miltona, Minn., died Monday, Aug. 1, 2006, at Douglas County Hospital in Alexandria, Minn.
Bruce Roland Smith was born April 4, 1918, in Sioux City, the son of now departed George Frank Smith and Mary Doyle (Sires) Smith. He attended Central High School in Sioux City and Refrigeration Mechanics School in Chicago prior to the outbreak of World War II.
Bruce was united in marriage with Evelyn Mabel Post on Dec. 21, 1940, in Pender, Neb. Four children were born to the couple and raised in Sioux City.
Bruce entered the U.S. Army in 1943. He served as a refrigeration mechanic after first attending Quartermaster school at Bloomington, Ill. He was then stationed with the 281st Quartermaster Detachment in Australia, New Guinea, the Philippines, and East Indies. he did his duty in combat over all types of terrain and tropical weather conditions, and for that service he was awarded the Philippine Liberation Ribbon and Bronze Star. Bruce was honorably discharged as a Technical Sergeant 4 in 1945.
In 1976, while working as a stationary engineer for Gates Rubber Company in Sioux City, Bruce and Evelyn purchased a small resort in Lake Irene near Miltona, Minn., and renamed it "Smitty's Hur-E-Bac Resort." The once struggling operation soon turned into a bustling enterprise for families, fishermen and children at play in the lake's crystal clear waters. "Smitty's" soon became the Smith family home.
Bruce's skill with refrigeration, small engines, plumbing, and the like served him well, making the resort business a natural fit. But it was the couple's warm hospitality, good humor, hot coffee and some good crappie and bluegill fishing that drew repeat customers from as far away as Indiana and Ohio.
The couple sold the resort a decade later, and thereafter kept their home nearby in a comfortable cottage at the water's edge.
Survivors include his daughter, Julia of Manhattan, Kan., sons Roger of Richmond, Va., Pat of Cerritos and Richard of San Ramon, Calif., their families and many friends in Iowa and at the lake.
Bruce was preceded in death by his wife, Evelyn, in 1997 and earlier by his sisters, Bernice Conway and Irene Bonniewell.
Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Plymouth Presbyterian Church in rural Le Mars. Internment will be in the church cemetery. Military honors will be provided by American Legion Wasmer Post 241 of Le Mars. A memorial service will follow at Faith Lutheran Church in Miltona at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 8.
Visitation with the family present will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Carlsen Funeral Home in Le Mars.