In Memory of Richard E. "Rich" Smith
Died: November 11, 2021
Richard E. “Rich” Smith, age 74, of Ida Grove, Iowa, passed away on Thursday, November 11, 2021, at the MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center of Sioux City, Iowa.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 4:00 p.m., with a visitation held prior to the service from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., on Monday, November 22, 2021, at the Skate Palace of Ida Grove, Iowa. Pastor Tyler Parson will officiate. Military Rites will be conducted by the McNamara-Moore Post No. 61 of the American Legion of Ida Grove.
The Christensen-Van Houten Funeral Home of Ida Grove, Iowa, is in charge of the funeral arrangements. Condolences may be sent online at www.christensenvanhouten.com
Richard “Rich” Smith, the son of Claude and Wanda (Higer) Smith, was born on September 22, 1947, in Superior, Nebraska. He grew up in Bronson, Iowa and received his high school degree in 1965 from Lawton-Bronson High School eventually earning his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Dakota.
After high school Rich enlisted into the Iowa Army National Guard. His unit was called into active duty and Rich was stationed at Fort Carson, CO. He was deployed to Vietnam in 1968 where he served as Infantry Officer. When he returned from Vietnam he served as Liaison Officer in Sioux City followed by Company Commander of the Sheldon unit. He honorably served his country and received the Silver Star for “gallantry in action”, the Bronze Star for “outstandingly meritorious service” and two Purple Hearts for “wounded in action”.
Upon his honorable discharge from active duty, Rich returned home to Sioux City, Iowa, where he married his beloved wife of 51 years, Sue M. Kofka, on May 9, 1970. In 1971 they were blessed with the birth of their first son, Shawn, followed by their second son, Ryan, in 1981.
Rich accepted a position with GOMACO in 1975 and the family relocated to Ida Grove, Iowa. His 46-year career included Vice President of Administration & Finance at GOMACO, CEO of BOBALEE Hydraulics in Laurens, Iowa and a Director of GOMACO International Ltd in London, England. The Godbersen Family provided a long and solid career path that Rich never thought of as “work”. He cherished his time at GOMACO which gave him the opportunity to forge many life-long friendships.
During his high school years, Rich enjoyed sports and was particularly fond of baseball. In 1964 he was part of the high school team that claimed the State Baseball Championship title for Lawton. During his time at University of South Dakota Rich earned athletic letters in baseball. His love for the game would continue into his 20’s and 30’ with him playing on semi-pro fastpitch softball teams including Clear Lake Butt'r-Topp in the late 70’s and Sioux City Penn Corp in the early 80’s. During his softball career he earned numerous MVP and All-Tournament Team accolades including being named to an All-Decade Team. In 1985 he was awarded First Team All American by the ASA which offered the opportunity to play in the Pan American Games and earned a birth to the 1986 Olympic Sports Festival in Raleigh, NC. His 17-year career culminated with a 1992 induction into the Iowa Fastpitch Softball Hall of Fame.
Rich was an avid outdoorsman. His love for the outdoors included a passion for hunting upland game birds over hunting dogs. He also took many opportunities to hunt big game and waterfowl. Later in life Rich found his peace, whether it was lake fishing, deep sea fishing or a local pond with rod in hand. Rich’s passion for conservation efforts and the great outdoors would lead him to spearhead and start the Ida County Chapter of Pheasants Forever serving as President of the county chapter for 25 years. In 2011 he was inducted into the Pheasants Forever Hall of Fame.
Throughout his life Rich had the opportunity to mentor and inspire numerous young men and youth in Ida County on baseball, hunting, fishing, and conservation efforts. He was a life-long Yankees fan, loyal Chicago Bears fan, and loved cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes. He treasured spending time with his two sons and especially the grandkids who called him “Grandpop”.
Left to cherish his memory are this wife of 51 years, Sue Smith of Ida Grove, IA; sons Shawn (Cynthia) Smith of Hoschton, GA and Ryan Smith of Jefferson, GA; grandchildren Justin Smith and Sammy Smith; brothers Ernie Smith and Albert (Susie) Smith both of Bronson, IA; sisters Claudene Ruhrer of Sioux City, IA and Carol (Harold) Taylor of Lyons, NE; as well as extended family and friends.
Rich was preceded in death by his father Claude Smith, his stepmother Vivian Smith, and his mother Wanda Vanderlinden.
Celebration of Life
4:00 p.m., Monday
November 22, 2021
Ida Grove, Iowa
Pastor Tyler Parson
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Monday, November 22, 2021
Ida Grove, Iowa
"Lord, I Need You"
"Behold Our God"
Rich was a great man and sorry to see Rich’s passing.
Just wanted to give you my condolences Sue. ”
Hey its Gomer here, a true legend has been called up (really Chad but you know my reference)..a true inspiration to many people but most importantly your family. Sue and the boys will truly miss you and my sincere condolences are with all 3 of you. Thanks for all the inspiration and the time you gave your son Ryan and I and too many others to mention in our youth days of sports. Nothing can take that away from us and thank you....we will meet again Rich.”
So sorry that we will not be able to join you today for the celebration of Rich's life. I guess GOD has different plans.
Please know that Rich was absolutely a friend and mentor throughout my career at GOMACO, and I will always miss the many talks we had in my quest to make the correct decision. Whatever the situation may have been, It will be tough with out him being a quick call way.
Our sincere sympathies and prayers on this day of celebration.
Kevin & Ann Klein ”
employee, a hunting buddy, and a treasured friend. My sincere condolences to you all. Gordon Johnson”
Dean and Jane O'Tool”
Byron and Mary Jo Hartwig”