Monte Vista resident Maurice E. “Gene” Smith, 88, died Dec. 9, 2020, at the Rio Grande Inn Nursing Home in La Jara.
Gene was born in Healy, Kansas on Dec. 27, 1931, the youngest child to William Smith and Lola Thirwell Smith. Gene attended Kansas University for two years before deciding to join the Navy where he served as a communications officer from 1952-1956. During his time in the Navy, he was stationed in Newport, R.I. While there he met a beautiful young nurse named Patricia (Pat) Ann Hahn. Being the fetching young sailor that he was, he swept Pat off her feet. They soon married in Providence, R.I. on June 4, 1955.
Gene joined the Catholic Church after 25 years of marriage and was very devout in his faith along with his loving wife Pat.
Gene later attended St. Mary the Plains College in Dodge City, Kan., while working and with five children at home to complete his degree in Teaching and graduated in 1973. Gene never pursued teaching but found his calling in carpentry. He was always a skilled carpenter and often worked with the Keck boys. Jeff Keck even ended up marrying his daughter Beth. He built several of his own homes throughout the years.
Gene had a real passion for Jay Hawk basketball, Football, and professional tennis. He also enjoyed playing basketball and tennis being known for his "mean English." His family recalls many occasions of his passion showing, at times in fiery and vocal ways.
His smile, charm, and good humor were unmatched even in his later years. He was always good for a one-liner zinger to make the ladies blush.
Camping and fishing are where Gene found peace. He loved being out in nature, bobber in the water, beloved wife at his side.
Gene lived a full, happy, and cheerful life and for that he will be deeply missed by all those who had the pleasure of knowing this kind soul.
Gene is survived by his wife Pat Smith of Monte Vista, Colo.; his children Debbie (Donald) LeBleu of Berthoud, Colo., John T. Smith of Las Vegas, Nev., Beth (Jeff) Keck of Monte Vista, Colo., and Lori (Bill) Flint of Divide, Colo.; as well as 11 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and extended family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his infant son Christopher Smith, his son Patrick Smith and his three brothers and two sisters.
A Recitation of the Rosary will be held Thursday, July 29, at 7 p.m. followed by a Funeral Mass, 10 a.m. July 30, 2021, both at the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Monte Vista.
Rogers Family Mortuary is in care of the arrangements. To leave online condolences, tributes or words of comfort for Gene’s family, please visit www.RogersFunerals.com. If you would like to make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association in his memory, please send these in care of Rogers Family Mortuary, 404 Morris Street, Monte Vista, CO 81144.