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Dr. Don Vernon Smith, 90

Feb 1, 2010

Tucson, Ariz. — Don Smith passed away at the age of ninety on Jan. 14, 2010 after a series of strokes. For the past year he has received loving care from the staff of the Catalina Foothills Adult Care Home where he lived with his wife, Rebecca.

Don was born Sept. 16, 1919 in Stanton, N.D., the son of Dr. Cecil and Mrs. Winnifred Smith. He grew up in Mandan, N.D., attended the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks where he met his future wife, Rebecca Onstad. After two years of medical school in Grand Forks, he moved to Chicago where he completed his degree at Northwestern University. After interning at Cook County Hospital he joined the army as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. Initially he assisted in surgery for wounded soldiers in Ithaca, N.Y. before being assigned for a year to the Army of Occupation in Japan. In 1947 he returned to join his family and begin a surgical residency at Eitel Hospital in Minneapolis.

Don moved to Blue Earth in 1950 to join the Blue Earth Medical Center doing general surgery and family practice. He designed a family cabin on Bass Lake, where his children spent many happy summers. In 1972 he moved to Arizona where he served on the Ganado Indian Reservation with Project Hope. After two years he moved to Phoenix to work with Arizona Health Plan. In 1980 he purchased property on Gull Lake near Brainerd. His children came that summer to assist in clearing trees for a road and a house. The following year he and Becky moved to their new home and hosted many family gatherings over the following years. Don was legendary among the grandchildren for his barbequed ribs and chocolate malted milk. In 2000 he and Becky moved to Tucson where his three daughters and Rebecca’s sister and her husband, Carolyn and Stan Bennett, live.

Don is survived by his wife of sixty-six years, Rebecca; a son, Dr. Stephen (Carla Granat) Smith, of Seattle, Wash.; daughters, Christine Austin, Deborah Haynes, Dr. Linda (Justin) Turner, all of Tucson, in addition to eleven grandchildren, and thirteen great-grandchildren.

Don was preceded in death by his sister, Margaret, his brother, Dale, and a son, Dean.

A memorial service is planned at the chapel of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at 10 a.m. on Feb. 13, 2010. Remembrances in lieu of flowers may be sent to the Mayo Clinic of Rochester, MN or to Doctors Without Borders for Haitian relief. Arrangements entrusted to Adair Funeral Homes – Avalon Chapel (742-7901).