FOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz. | On Feb. 4, 2018, just hours before his 70th birthday, Terry Clinton Smith, age 69, passed to the other side, on his way to his next adventure.
He was born Feb. 5, 1948, in Rapid City, SD. He had a typical, happy, 1950’s childhood spending summers swimming at the old Roosevelt pool and winters skating at Roosevelt pond with all his neighborhood pals.
He graduated from Rapid City High School in 1966, and was drafted into the US Army in 1967, where he earned his Combat Infantry Badge (CIB) fighting in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. He has said that he viewed his life in two parts — before Vietnam and after Vietnam.
He returned home after the service and went to college at Black Hills State in Spearfish, SD, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in math and science. It was there he met Jean Vroman from Belle Fourche, SD, and they were married March 30, 1972. After graduation Terry taught algebra for a semester at Rapid City High School as a substitute for his old high school algebra teacher who he recalled had almost flunked him in high school.
In 1973, Terry and Jean moved to her family ranch in Harding County, SD, to began their second career. Their daughter Sarah was born during their years at the ranch. Terry enjoyed ranch life very much, but in 1976 he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and because of his health they needed to be closer to the VA Hospital near Belle Fourche, where they made their home for the next 40 years. It was there his son Clinton was born in 1978.
Terry returned to college and studied both computer and library science. He put that education to use, writing one of the first computer programs for a local livestock market, which they continued using for many years. He also was involved in bringing internet access to Belle Fourche and the Belle Fourche School District.
Because of his wife's loving and dedicated care, Terry was able to live a full and active life, despite his health challenges. He passed his love of golf onto his children, spending many hours on the golf course as a family. He and Jean spent many years following both Sarah and Clinton around to many golf tournaments. Terry and Jean also traveled extensively, and loved spending winters in Arizona, where they made many close and loyal friends.
Terry had a brilliant mind, and was blessed with a laid back easy-going personality. He enjoyed the simple things — books, music, food & drink with those he loved. His often repeated words were: “What are you going to do about it? It is what it is.”
Terry was diagnosed with melanoma lung and brain cancer in the Spring of 2017. As a snowbird for the last 10 years, Terry was determined to return to Arizona to spend time with friends and family for the last time. Once again, with the wonderful care of his wife and his children, he was able to enjoy a full and comfortable life until his passing at MorningStar Senior Living in Fountain Hills.
Terry is survived by his wife, Jean of Rapid City; his daughter and son-in-law, Sarah and David Bashaw of Fountain Hills; his son and daughter-in-law, Clinton and Danae Smith of Scottsdale; his mother, Floy Sandine of Rapid City; sister and brother-in-law, Cheryl and Jim Foster of Rapid City; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Mary and Max Main of Aladdin WY; brother-in-law, Don Brady of Spearfish, SD; niece, Laurie (Ron) Mills and their children of Rapid City; and niece, Wendy (Chris ) Voss and their children of Fairmont, MN.
He was preceded in death by his fathers, Ray Richard Smith and Daryl Sandine; his sister-in-law, Ann Brady, and his mother- and father-in-law, Joyce and Colonel J. Vroman Jr.
Services will be at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, June 14, at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, SD, with full military honors.
Godspeed Terry, until we meet again.
Online condolences may be left at messingermortuary.com.