Michael David Smith, 75, passed away May 13, 2019. He was born Feb. 17, 1944, in Chehalis, Wash., to Curtis and Vernetta Smith (Rickert). Michael was the second born of five children, Vicki Ducharme and Kevin Smith, and was preceded in death by Mary Jo Smith and Orin Smith.
He enjoyed a simple childhood, attending school and playing basketball whenever he had a moment to spare. Michael and his brothers spent countless hours on the neighborhood courts. He was nurtured and loved by his family, but their resources were limited so they learned to live and be happy with very few material extras. To earn money, he got a job as a local paper boy and his vibrant spirit delighted neighbors near and far. Such was the beginning of his incredible work ethic, which would lead him to becoming president of two successful real estate companies, first Century 21 Smith/Ring Realtors and later Prudential Michael Smith Realtors. Michael's drive and success in his professional life would bring him great fulfillment and joy through the years, as he loved nothing more than helping, interacting and working with people.
Oct. 19, 1968, Michael married Bobbie Jane Bickle. They bought some property in Issaquah, Wash., and built a lovely home on a creek surrounded by nature. There, Michael and Bobbie would become proud parents of Allison and Kimberlee. Michael kept immaculate care of his property, spending nearly every weekend splitting wood and tending the lawns and gardens. He and Bobbie built a slightly larger house next door and in these two cozy homes, Michael and his family made many wonderful memories that they all hold dear to their hearts.
Michael and Bobbie divorced when their daughters were in their middle-to-late teens, but remained good friends, enjoying each other’s company and spending quality time with their grandchildren.
He married Sandra Kraus in 1997, enjoyed some memorable years together, but later divorced in the year 2016. Michael retired in 2006, and over the next several years was able to watch his two daughters become mothers to his nine grandchildren. By Allison he had Ian, Olivia, Audrey, Peter and Evelyn Sander and by Kimberlee he had Elizabeth, Katherine, Claire and Natalie Baker. He adored his two sons-in-law, Ned Sander and Andy Baker and shared many good times at sporting events, in particular Seahawks game days! One of our favorite places to gather as a family was at our beach house on Henderson Inlet in Olympia, Wash. “Paradise” as he called it! He did not take one single sunset for granted and lived a peaceful existence doing what he loved most, tending his grounds. As a family, we enjoyed endless days on the beach, walks in the forests, nights of s'mores by the fire and star gazing. He built a raft for his nine grandchildren so they could jump into the Sound and lounge in the sunshine. Michael split his time between the beach house and a home in Kirkland, Wash., where over the course of years he created a botanical oasis manifested by his vision and deep love of nature.
Michael never forgot his roots from Chehalis and was a big supporter of many community initiatives including the development of the Vernetta Smith Chehalis Timberland Library named after his mother. He was also a big supporter of Centralia College serving on the Sports Hall of Fame Committee. Centralia College honored Michael in 2013, with the naming of the Michael Smith Gymnasium.
In 2004, Michael was diagnosed with a rare appendix disease called Pseudomyxoma Peritonei. He battled it with courage and strength, even reaching out to other folks suffering from this little known disease, offering knowledge and support. After a successful surgery, he was able to live a quality life with minimal symptoms, but the last few years became more challenging. At the end of his life when Michael was asked what he loved to do most, he answered, “Mow my lawn and take long walks”.
Michael was a man who enjoyed a simple life. He had a vibrant and welcoming personality, lighting up the room with every entrance! Michael made everyone feel special and made sure they knew how much he appreciated them. His loving heart brought joy and smiles to all who were blessed to know him. His spirit departed gently and peacefully, with his former wife, Bobbie and his two daughters surrounding him. The grief we feel is one we never knew until he left us, but we rejoice knowing he has returned home to Heaven.
Donations can be made in Michael’s name to the Chehalis Foundation. A private memorial service for immediate family members will be held in his honor.