And even has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation"
Harold F. (H. Fred) Smith, the eldest of seven children born to Ethel Kathleen (Hayes) Smith and Harold B. Smith on April 6, 1942 in Cassopolis, Michigan, was eagerly enfolded into the loving arms of his Lord and Savior on Thursday, September, 30 at 9:18 P.M. with his devoted wife and daughter by his side.
Fred realized his long-held dream of fatherhood when on June 24, 1978, he married Diane (McClure) Kennedy at Bristol United Methodist Church and became "daddy" to 10 year old, Shannon. They were father and daughter in the truest sense of the word and shared an unconditional love for each other.
He honorably served his country in the United States Army during the Vietnam conflict, but was fortunate to serve stateside for 2 years stationed at Fort Lee, Virginia. He never failed to thank those who served and always felt that his contribution was minimal compared to those who fought and died to ensure our freedom. Being called a veteran was one of his proudest accomplishments and he often lamented the fact that when given the choice, he did not re-enlist. He would often pick up the tab for a veteran and/or their family when out dining. Upon his return to civilian life, he worked in new home construction for a number of years until 1977, when he became employed by Coachmen Industries. Over the course of his career, he was employed by several other notable RV manufacturers, but concluded his working days at the same place he started when in 2008 he retired from Coachmen as Senior Engineer for the Diesel Motorhome Division. Fred was a member of the Elkhart High School Class of 1960, but due to unfortunate family circumstances, he quit during his Senior year. He returned to school and in 1963 received his diploma from South Bend Central High School. He also attended Indiana University South Bend on the G.I. Bill.
In 1985, he made what he considered to be one of his most life changing decisions (he often said 2nd only to marrying, Diane) when he joined the Masonic Fraternity and made it his way of life. While in high school, he often saw young men wearing jackets with Demolay on the back. Thinking that it was just another trouble causing jacket club, he never investigated membership. Had he known of their relationship to the Masonic Fraternity and their marvelous reputation of molding young men into adults, he would have sought out membership at that time. He was a past Worshipful Master 5 times of George Washington Masonic Lodge #325, Free and Accepted Masons in Bristol. In 1985, he also joined the Order of the Eastern Star and became a member of Bristol Chapter #273 and served 17 times as Worthy Patron. In 2014-2015, he served Indiana Grand Chapter OES as Worthy Grand Patron, the highest office that can be conferred upon a brother in the state. He was a Life Member of the Scottish Rite Valley of South Bend and in 2002-2004, served as Commander-in-Chief of the Consistory. In 2006, in Chicago, he was awarded the highest honor that can be conferred upon a Mason when he became a 33rd degree. He was also a member of York Rite, Orak Shrine, White Shrine of Jerusalem, the Red Cross of Constantine and the 33rd degree Association. Fred was a perfectionist in every sense of the word and prided himself on his ritualistic work.
Fred and Diane loved to travel and when Shannon was in the Concord Marching Band, they served as band parents and made trips to Macy's Parade in New York City, Rose Parade in Pasadena and the King Kamehameha Parade in Honolulu. Their travels also took them to beautiful Scotland and enchanting Europe. They celebrated their 11th anniversary in Venice, Italy, their 25th in Cancun and their 35th in Las Vegas. They also made many wonderful trips around the country on their Honda Goldwing and after those days were a thing of the past, enjoyed cruising in their Corvette.
Fred gave precious time to driving patients to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago and after retirement worked as a part time Van Driver for Oaklawn Psychiatric Hospital transporting clients to and from appointments until early 2019 when he retired permanently due to declining health. Being of service in both of these capacities was very fulfilling to him and giving up that part of his life, broke his heart.
He was a long-time member of Bristol United Methodist Church where he sang in the choir, was a sound technician and served on numerous committees over the years. In 2002, on his 60th birthday, he participated on the Walk to Emmaus where he drew nearer to God and was forever changed.
Being a "died in the wool" IU Basketball and Green Bay Packer fan, he could at times become very vocal in his support especially when both of them were not living up to his expectations. When the grandsons were younger, one of their Christmas gifts for many years was always a trip to Assembly Hall in Bloomington (greatest college town in America) to watch the Hoosiers play. Fred finally realized his dream of seeing the Packers play at Lambeau Field on a cold and snowy day in January approximately 10 years ago. He always said that it was worth every frozen bone!
He was pre-deceased by his parents, brothers, John Paul, Daniel F. and William H, and sister Barbara Silk. His surviving siblings are Ellen (Charles) Davis of Elkhart and James (Ellen) of Beach Park, Illinois and 7 nieces and 4 nephews.
Left to cherish and remember what a truly humble, awesome and God loving man Fred was, are the "love of his life", soulmate and wife of 43 years, Diane., daughter, Shannon (Wade) Yoder, grandsons, Tony D. Fisher, Tyler D. (Lauren) Fisher and great grandson, Liam, who will never get to know firsthand what an absolutely amazing man his great grandfather was.
According to Fred's wishes, cremation has taken place. It was his desire to have his ashes spread on the ocean and that will take place next summer when Diane and Shannon to make another trip to beautiful Scotland to honor his wishes.
A celebration of Fred’s life will take place at 11:30am Saturday October 30, 2021 at Bristol United Methodist Church, 201 S. Division St., Bristol, IN 46507. Gathering will be from 10-11:30 am with Masonic and Eastern Star Service and Military Honors.
Memorial contributions may be made to Shriners Children’s Hospital, 2211 N. Oak Park Ave., Chicago, IL. 60707 at www.shrinerschildrens.org and the Oaklawn Foundation for Mental Health, PO Box 809, 330 Lakeview Dr., Goshen, IN. 46527 Attention: Kari Tarman
The family wishes to thank Courtyard Health Care, Elara Caring Hospice and Stemm-Lawson-Peterson Funeral Home for their invaluable support and caring during this heartbreaking time of profound grief.
"Though sorrow comes to every heart that dares to let love in, it's that same love that carries us until we meet again." Always and forever, Diane
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