BETTENDORF — Richard John Smith, 72, of Bettendorf, and Marco Island, Florida, died Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, at his home with his family by his side. Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Monday at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, Bettendorf. There will be a private burial following Mass at the Rock Island National Cemetery, Arsenal Island. Halligan-McCabe-DeVries Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
Rich was born March 6, 1944, in Davenport, to Sylvester and Helen Smith. He grew up in Davenport and graduated from Davenport Assumption High School in 1963, before attending St. Thomas College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he studied history.
Rich met his wife, Mary Lou, in Minneapolis while he was a student. After leaving school, he was drafted into the Army in 1967. He served during the Vietnam conflict and was stationed in Bamberg, Germany, where he worked as an engineer before being granted an honorable discharge in 1969. Rich was very proud of his military service and worked to honor veterans throughout his life.
He and Mary Lou moved back to Davenport following his service to his country, where he went to work for S.J. Smith Company, the gas and welding supply company his father, Sylvester, founded in 1950. Upon his father’s death in 1980, he was named president of S.J. Smith Co.
Rich was a dedicated, visionary businessman who built S.J. Smith from a one-store shop on Davenport’s west end to a multi-state, multi-store regional distributorship. As he built the business as a second-generation owner, he brought all three of his children into the company, where they work in senior leadership roles today. He was extremely proud of their dedication to and support of the family business.
At home, Rich was a caring family man who enjoyed boating, travel, and spending time with his children and grandchildren. Two of his travel highlights include his trip to the Holy Land with Mary Lou and Father Tim Sheedy, as well as a trip last summer to Normandy and Paris with his wife, daughter and granddaughter.
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Watching his grandkids learn, grow and flourish brought him much joy. He enjoyed working around his house and vacation homes, and was an avid fan of performance automobiles.
Survivors include his wife, Mary Lou; daughter, Richelle Smith-Brecht and spouse Tory, their daughter, Celia and son, Spencer; son, Christopher and spouse Susan, their sons, Eli and Simon; son, Eric and spouse Katie, their daughters, Adelyne and Danyele and son, Greyson; and sister, Barb Chada.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Sylvester and Helen, and sister, Susan Clement.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
Online condolences and remembrances may be expressed to the family by visiting Rich’s obituary at hmdfuneralhome.com.