Richard Francis Smith passed away of natural causes Sunday, June 23, 2019, at Buffalo Hospital in Buffalo. He had reached the age of 94 years, 8 months, and 26 days.
A funeral service will take place Saturday, June 29, 2019 at 2 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 719 9th Street in Howard Lake.
Visitation will take place one hour prior to service at the church Saturday, June 29. Interment will take place at Howard Lake Cemetery.
Arrangements by Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home and Cremation Service; 320-286-2534.
Richard Francis Smith, was born Sunday, Sept. 28, 1924, in Howard Lake, to Charles and Mary (Patrick) Smith.
He grew up on a farm west of Howard Lake and graduated from Howard Lake High School in 1942. He went on to attend the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY, graduating in 1946. He served with the Merchant Marines in Australia and New Guinea during World War II.
Richard met Phyllis Mlinar of Spring Valley, MN in Boston and married in 1955. To this union, three children were born; Carol, Richard, and Janet. The family made their home in Ridgewood, NJ.
After the war, Richard worked in various aspects of the shipping industry. In 1962, he became a partner in the Sea King Corp. based in New York City. The company first operated a fleet of Liberty Ships and in the early ‘70s, added a fleet of tankers. In 1978, Crest Shipping Agency was formed and operated a steady fleet of five tankers trading worldwide. In the ‘90s, Crest was strongly involved in the Gulf War operation, running a fleet of 10 Roll on Roll off vessels.
Throughout his life, Richard enjoyed people and entertaining, traveling, gardening, and elk and pheasant hunting.
One of his lifelong passions was downhill skiing with his family in Colorado and Switzerland.
Richard retired 12 years ago to the farm in Howard Lake, where he took up the hobby of making maple syrup. He was a member of the Masons and the American Legion.
Richard is survived by his wife Phyllis of Howard Lake, children: Carol M. Lehr (Joe Houghton) of Huntingdon Valley, PA, Richard J. Smith of Minneapolis, and Janet E. Smith of Fairbanks, AK; nieces Carla, Molly, and Kaye Smith, Marlys Milbrandt and Christine Gustafson (Mark), and many grand-nieces and nephews and cousins.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents Charles and Mary, brothers Vernon (Allegra) and James, sister Mary Milbrandt (Paul), and nephew Allyn Smith.