Howard Ernest Smith 1937– 2021

Howard Ernest Smith was born May 16, 1937 in Wray, CO to Emil (Toolie) and Francis Funk Smith. He was raised on the farm/ranch northeast of Beecher Island. Howard attended 1st grade at Wray Elementary School in Wray, CO, staying with his Funk grandparents during the week and returning to Beecher Island on the weekends. He then attended school in Beecher Island until the school was closed. Howard finished his education and graduated from Wray High School in 1955. During his school years, Howard participated in 4-H, showing steers and doing other activities. In 1954, Howard had the champion fat beef for the junior division. He started college in 1955 at Colorado A&M in Fort Collins, CO. He worked his way through college, graduating from Colorado State University in 1962 with a degree in Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture, Animal Production. Howard worked as herdsman for the college, traveling to the National Western Stockshow in Denver, CO where he showed the cattle. He was also on the rodeo team, traveling to college rodeos. Howard enlisted in the United States Army Reserves in 1962 and was honorably discharged in 1966. He trained as an aircraft mechanic while enlisted.
Following graduation, Howard then returned to Beecher Island where he worked on the family farm. In 1964, he was hired to manage the Warner Ranch northwest of Wray, CO. In 1966, he met Charlotte Welp at the El Patio in Wray, CO where she was waiting tables. After a whirlwind romance, the confirmed bachelor was wed to Charlotte on September 9, 1966 at the St John’s Lutheran Church in Vernon, CO. After the sale of the ranch, they moved to Hemingford, NE (1971) where he worked for Iodence Ranch. November 1971, they returned to Colorado where Howard worked for Winger Ranch at Joes, CO. In June 1972, they started their family, welcoming a baby boy, Charles (Chad) Emil Smith. In August 1973, they moved to Wray, CO, where Howard drove a truck for Raymond Neff. In December 1973, Howard and Charlotte Smith moved to the farm northwest of Vernon, CO, where they lived for 40 years. In 1978, Russell Edgar joined the family, followed by CaraJo Ella in 1979. Joyann Myrle completed the family in 1985.
Although Howard was a cowboy at heart and enjoyed jackpot ropings, especially team roping, he continued to drive a truck. He began his trucking career in high school, driving a 1948 Chevrolet truck from Beecher Island to St Francis, KS to haul the wheat harvest. Howard also drove for his uncle Sam (Wilbert) Peters, hauling hogs to Denver, CO. Throughout his trucking career, Howard worked for farmers and ranchers in the area, hauling grain, cattle, cement, fertilizer, and fuel. He especially enjoyed driving the 1969 narrow-nosed Peterbilt, owned by Brad Deterding. Howard retired from trucking in 2007. He continued to help area farmers with harvest and filled in as a truck driver.
Howard and Charlotte had a herd of cows, so his spare time was spent fixing fence, working and branding calves, hauling hay, and all the other jobs waiting. He learned that if he fed his cows hay at night, there was less chance of pulling a calf in the middle of the night. There was always a calf kept to feed for slaughter to feed the family. They sold the cows in 1997.
He always had a horse. Starting with Buck and Pancho that he raised at Beecher and continuing with Kate, Kit, and Mouse, his mares. He could always find someone with a stud so he could raise a colt. After retirement he kept his two horses. When Howard and Charlotte moved to town, he drove to the farm every day to feed the horses and cats and keep up the farm.
He taught his children that the animals needed fed; rain, snow, sleet, heat, or drought. Chores were done before breakfast and supper. He continued to teach his children by the way he got up every day and went to work, no matter what.
Howard was blessed with good health and a joint replacement made him a new man. But in July 2020 his speech was slurred and the left side of his mouth drooped. What was diagnosed as a slight stroke became a brain tumor.
Howard was called to his heavenly home on January 17, 2021.
He is preceded in death by his parents, his infant brother Walter, parents-in-law Chester and Alice Welp, and brother-in-law Dan Welp.
He is survived by his wife, Charlotte, son Charles ‘Chad’ (Mackie) of Perryton, TX, son Russell (Vanessa) of Wray, daughter CaraJo (John) Wilson of Tulsa, OK, daughter Joyann (Josh) Martin of South Bend, WA, daughter of the heart Jenny Jo (Travis) Streich of Minot, ND. Grandchildren: Haley Smith and Mike Ayala, Caius Smith, Jagger Smith, Mitchell, Marrie, and Dellia Lenz-Smith, Daniel Wilson, Alyssa and David Martin, and Raelyn and Krew Streich. Great grandchildren: Auden and Anya Ayala. Brother Richard W. (Dick) and Teena Smith, sister-in law Carrie and Ray Bivens, sister-in-law Pat MacMillan (Welp), numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Funeral services were held Saturday, Jan. 23 at the Calvary Lutheran Church in Wray, CO with Pastor Tim Davis officiating. Inurnment was held at the Glendale Cemetery in Vernon, CO.
Memorials may be made to Howard E. Smith Memorial Fund in care of First Pioneer National Bank, 145 W 4thStreet, Wray, CO 80758.
Schmidt-Jones Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.