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David R. Smethurst

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David Robert Smethurst, age 74, loving husband, dad, brother-in-law, uncle, “Pop”, cousin, and friend passed away suddenly on Friday, November 5, 2021, from complications of cancer.

He was born on March 19, 1947, in Huntington, Indiana, to George and Jean Smethurst. He was raised and attended school in Warren, Indiana.

On September 1, 1968, he married Susan Morrison. They raised two children, Brooke and Ross. David was an only child who was quickly adopted into the Morrison family.

He dedicated his life to his family, the community of Gaylord, conservation, the Pigeon River Country, and the Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited. He had a passion for fly-fishing, golf, upland bird hunting, watching an English Setter work the woods, chasing bonefish, daylilies, reading, cooking, traveling, Indiana University basketball, homemade ice cream, cold clean trout streams, key lime pie, and history. He was a retired teacher and administrator for Gaylord Community Schools.

He is survived by his daughter, Brooke (John) Stahle; son, Ross Smethurst (Jennifer Winkleman); grandchildren, Andrew and Austin Stahle; brothers and sisters through marriage, Dave Morrison, Rhonda (Jim) Brown, Doug Morrison, Beth Morrison (Charles Gutierrez); and several nieces and nephews who he dearly loved.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Susan; her parents, Bill and Marge Morrison; his nephew, Neil Morrison; and his parents, George and Jean Smethurst.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 13, 2021, at 3:00 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Gaylord, with visitation beginning at 1:00 p.m.

The service will be available to view via Livestream on Facebook starting at 3:00 p.m. on November 13, 2020. A link is provided below Dave’s picture that will direct you to First United Methodist Church’s Facebook page.

In order to protect the community Dave loved so much, the family is asking everyone in attendance for the funeral services to please wear their mask while inside the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Pigeon River Country Association, P.O. Box 122, Gaylord, MI, 49734., or the Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited online at http://headwaterstu.org/donate/ or by mail at, PO Box 1873, Gaylord, MI, 48734.

Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Nelson Funeral Home and Cremation Service, P.O. Box 1548, Gaylord MI 49734.

16 comments on “David R. Smethurst”

  1. Keith & Chris Wells

    So very sorry to hear of Dave’s passing. We loved his visits to the library. He was such a kind person. Our thoughts and prayers to his family. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

    • Stephanie Kalember

      This is heartbreaking. Brooke and Ross, my heart is with you. Your dad was a wonderful man. He was a mentor and a sounding board for me as I began my career. I’ll never forget his support. Sending you all peace and comfort.

      • The Kannowski’s feel very saddened to hear this! We all loved Dave. He was a very caring and great guy!
        R.I.P. Dave
        Al Nancy Aaron and Bryan

        • The presence of Dave, spiritually, will live on long after his passing. I grieve his passing but celebration the time I was able to share with him. May his love for you and your love for him give you peace and comfort as you make this transition in your life once again.

          • Dave, when that heavenly trout season opens, be sure to have plenty of your hand-tied flies on your vest, and remember that heaven is catch and release only. And at the bird season opener make sure Lady is a little steadier on point, but don’t worry about her retrieving, because after the gun’s report the Grouse will fly forever, that’s why heaven is “forever”.
            You have been a true friend and colleague, you will be sorely missed. God Bless You.
            Mike Flinn

            • Share A Candle: 1
          • Dave had such a passion for the Pigeon River and Blue Lakes; his eyes would sparkle when discussing both. He impacted many young people in Gaylord. May he Rest In Peace. My sympathies to his family.

            • Dave is a special gift. He is ‘rarer than radium’. I was honored to share some time with him on Pigeon River matters. I enjoyed his presence, his love of what really matters, his loyal friendship, and his faith in humanity. The Gaylord community has lost a treasure. May we all honor him by how we choose to live. Choose life with extravagance and filled with kindness. It would make him smile like he has a nice brook trout on his line.

              Dave, may the wind be at your back and the sun on your face warm you. May Susan and all gone before you welcome you and may Almighty God embrace you and say, “Welcome home, Dave. Welcome home. You were among the best I ever made. Your life was a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.” Amen. Fr. Pat Cawley

              • I was heartbroken of Dave’s passing. He was a good friend and will be missed. God bless his soul.

                Farrokh Takesh

                • Many of us came to this community with hopes of a new job, we raised families, retired and most importantly did our part to contributed to a community we all respected and enjoyed. Dave did far more than many of us for the love of family, nature and mankind. My sincere thoughts to his family during this time of sorrow and celebration.

                  • Bryan A Burroughs

                    Losing Dave Smethurst hurts, and it will continue to. But, his death only hurts because of how well he lived his life and because he positively impacted so many people so deeply. He was so many wonderful things to so many people. He was truly one-of-a-kind, and I have met few people who so deeply appreciated the gifts of life, family and nature. He helped to shape Trout Unlimited and Michigan’s environmental conscience across many many decades. He made places better than he found them. He loved family, community and nature deeply, and really left everything he touched so much better off because of him. Brooke and Ross, and his grandchildren – please know how great of a man he was, and that we will not forget it.
                    In eternal gratitude and respect for Dave,
                    His Michigan Trout Unlimited Family

                    • I knew David for many years, in fact, during his many years as caretaker of Blue Lakes Ranch, you could almost say he was my next-door neighbor. He will be surely missed by all of us who love the Northwoods of Michigan.

                      • Share A Candle: 1
                    • Mr. Smethurst was one of my favorite teachers in high school. He was very good with his students and, as a new student, he helped guide me in my final two years of high school. I always had the utmost respect for him and can share several stories where we, as a class, played jokes on Mr. Smethurst and he laughed so hard he canceled class for the remainder of the day. He could dish it out, but he could take it just as well. A true mentor to his students.

                      • Mr. Smethurst (your High School teacher is always addressed as “Mr.” of “Ms.” forever) was an outstanding teacher. I learned a lot of ideas and concepts that I continue to use to this day. He was intelligent, kind, and thoughtful; all of the qualities you look forward to in a teacher when you’re a kid starting your journey into the world. I also know he was a wonderful husband, father, friend, and member of the community. I miss him already.

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