In Memory of Richard E. "Rich" Smith

Richard  E. "Rich" Smith
Richard E. "Rich" Smith
Born: September 22, 1947
Died: November 11, 2021
Age: 74
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Richard E. "Rich" Smith
September 22, 1947 - 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

     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
Skate Palace
Ida Grove, Iowa


Pastor Tyler Parson


Honorary Pallbearers
Gary Godbersen
Kent Godbersen
Steve Bengford
Reece Bengford
Elliott Bengford
Brent Ruhrer
Tyler Ruhrer
Ernie Smith
Albert Smith
Jim Hayward
Dan Skirvin
Gregg Erickson
Troy Kruse
Gregg Goodenow


2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Monday, November 22, 2021
Skate Palace 
Ida Grove, Iowa


Congregational Hymns
"10,000 Reasons"
"Lord, I Need You"
"Behold Our God"

Jason Gross
Melinda Parson
Tyler Parson
Gayle Brown


Wednesday, November 24, 2021 at 2:50 PM
“Sue I am sorry for you and your family.
Rich was a great man and sorry to see Rich’s passing.
Just wanted to give you my condolences Sue. ”
- Sue Mahrt Wilcox
Wednesday, November 24, 2021 at 2:50 PM

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.”
- chad lichtenberg
Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 10:29 AM
“Sue, Shawn, and Ryan,
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 ”
- Kevin & Ann Klein
Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 10:29 AM
“"Not gone. Waiting patiently at the end of the trail." My Native American family and I keep you in our prayers as Rich makes his journey to join the Great Spirit.”
- Pauline Hogan
Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 10:29 AM
“Dear Sue, so sorry to hear Rich's passing. My deepest sympathy to the Smith family. He will be missed by many. ”
- John Weatherhead
Monday, November 22, 2021 at 9:17 AM
“We have a lot of good memories of the softball games Smitty caught for Gene... He was one of the best... Our sincere condolences to the family...”
- Gene and Linda Olson
Monday, November 22, 2021 at 9:17 AM
“I am so sorry for your loss as a family. Rich was a great teammate when he played for Woods Warriors. Steady, dedicated, focus and just a great human being. He will be missed by all. Rest in :Peace my friend!”
- W Patrick Murphy
Monday, November 22, 2021 at 9:17 AM
“I am so sorry, Sue. Sending prayers for you and your family. ”
- Jeanne Morley Rendall
Monday, November 22, 2021 at 9:17 AM
“Our thoughts & prayers are with you Sue & family! I did not know Rich established & led Pheasants Forever or that he served in Vietnam. Fifty one years of marriage shows your commitment to each other. I pray your family, friends & church family will help you during this time. Wish we lived closer to be there for Rich’s funeral & give you a hug. Kristy & Ted Smith”
- Kristy & Ted Smith
Monday, November 22, 2021 at 9:16 AM
“Thinking of you and your family! ”
- Rodney & Linda Payne
Monday, November 22, 2021 at 9:16 AM
“To Sue and all Rich's family, I am so saddened to learn of your loss. Rich was a fellow GOMACO
employee, a hunting buddy, and a treasured friend. My sincere condolences to you all. Gordon Johnson”
- Gordon Johnson
Monday, November 22, 2021 at 9:14 AM
“So sorry to hear about Rich passing away! Our thoughts and prayers are with Sue and all of Your Family. What a great person and Friend. Had many greats years playing softball with Rich or against Him. R.I.P. Rich we will all miss You!”
- Ron and Stephanie Ege
Thursday, November 18, 2021 at 8:52 AM
“I am very sorry to hear about Rich’s passing. It has been several years since I last saw him but have fond memories of him from my hunting and visiting with him while hunting, a true gentleman.”
- Richard Berry
Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 2:11 PM
“So sorry for the loss of Rich. He was a kind man. Thinking of your family during this difficult time. Hugs.”
- Cheryl Hall
Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 2:11 PM
“RIP Sir: You were a true softball legend, and a truly good man. Proud to have played against you, Well played.”
- Cam Lind
Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 2:11 PM
“I am very sorry to hear about Rich’s passing. It has been several years since I last saw him but have fond memories of him from my time working summers at Gomaco and spending Thursday evenings at the golf course. God Bless you all.

- Ian Thornhill
Tuesday, November 16, 2021 at 3:09 PM
“So so sorry Susie, Shawn and Ryan. I was honored to have met him a few years ago. We're keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers!! ”
- Laurie & Brad Books
Tuesday, November 16, 2021 at 11:23 AM
“Sorry for your loss Sue Prayers”
- Kenny & Anne Thornhill
Tuesday, November 16, 2021 at 11:23 AM
“Sue, Shawn & Ryan. So sorry for the loss of Rich. He was such a good friend and will be missed by all.”
- Shawn Cadwell
Tuesday, November 16, 2021 at 9:08 AM
“Sue & family - keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers!! Rich will be missed by so many! ”
- Wylene Redenius
Tuesday, November 16, 2021 at 9:08 AM
“So sorry to hear of the loss of Rich! He was an Ida Grove Icon! Prayers for Sue and family during this difficult time!🙏🏻”
- Chris Kallas
Tuesday, November 16, 2021 at 9:08 AM
“Sue, Shawn and Ryan, Vicki and I am so sorry for your loss. I really enjoyed working with Rich at Gomaco and seeing your boys and ours grow up as friends and neighbors. May GOD comfort all of you and help you through this time. ”
- Dennis & Vicki Ernst
Monday, November 15, 2021 at 1:50 PM
“Our deepest sympathies to you, Sue, and to your family. Rich will be missed by our entire community.
Dean and Jane O'Tool”
- Jane OToolp0
Sunday, November 14, 2021 at 5:22 PM
“God’s comfort to Sue, Ryan & Shawn and family - Rich was a constant part of our lives in our Ida Grove days - we admired his leadership and treasured his friendship - we pray God’s peace for family and friends now and in the days ahead.”
- Jean & Tom Hiller
Sunday, November 14, 2021 at 5:22 PM
“Sue, Ryan and Shawn. So sorry for your loss. Rich was great person. He will be missed.
Byron and Mary Jo Hartwig”
- Byron Hartwig
Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 7:54 PM
“Sending prayers and hugs to Sue, Ryan and Shawn. May Rich Rest In Peace, where he will suffer no more🙏🏻🙏🏻💜”
- Judy Pluth
Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 7:54 PM
“Prayers to you and the boys Sue, he was very much a part of my life. Call if there is something I can do.”
- Steve Brown
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