Donald Smith

Obituary of Donald Eugene Smith

Donald E. Smith passed away Nov.1 2021 in Portland Oregon. He was 74 years old. Donald was born in Adrian, Minnesota to Henry G. and Ruth K. Smith who operated Smith’s Bakery in Adrian for 44 years. He graduated from Adrian Public High School in 1965 with a basketball scholarship to Mankato State University (now Minnesota State University – Mankato). In high school he was active in sports – and on the winning 1965 basketball A team which won 13 of 18 games played. He played Mr. D Clarke in the school play “Paint the Town Pink.” He spent much of his spare time with his brothers working in his parents’ bakery – baking bread, rolls and cookies and making candy as well as serving customers with his friendly, outgoing and enthusiastic demeanor. He graduated from Mankato State in 1969, where he honed his basketball playing skills and decided on a career of High School Coach and Teacher. He joined the Great Lakes Naval reserves in Chicago, and while there met his wife Ellen. It was in Chicago that he started his coaching and teaching career. This led him to a position at Cathedral High School in Duluth. When the Iron Range Economy collapsed, he attended a teachers conference in Iowa and learned of a coaching and teaching position in Taiwan at the Taipei American School. After discussing it with Ellen, they and their young daughters moved to Taipei. Donald had a long and successful coaching and teaching career in Taipei and grew with the school. When he joined the faculty the school was in the middle of rice paddies and when he retired in 2011, It was in the middle of the city and a world-renowned school. While part of TAS he coached basketball, taught business and computer courses and worked on the Annual TAS yearbook. He had the ability to meet a student, see their talents, become a mentor and guiding figure. He was an important man who touched a lot of lives. Past students have said this about the influence Donald had on their lives: “Mr. Smith was so easy going and comfortable to be around.” “Any given time of day, his computer lab would be packed with students, many there just to chat with him. “ “Whenever the market was up we would spend a few minutes discussing colors and option packages, sometimes even entertaining the idea of perhaps two corvettes one in each color he couldn't decide from.” My father, sister and myself all had the pleasure of learning from Mr. Smith during our time at TAS. He was a fundamental reason why I went to Depaul. He wrote my recommendation letter, told me all about his time in Chicago, and inspired me to move to Chicago while all my other friends went to school in California. He has been the source of many laughs and good memories when I get together with my family. I think only fondly of him. I know there are so many people who cared about him.” After retirement Donald moved to Colorado, built and owned his first house and a long desired Corvette. While that was satisfying for a while – he longed to spend time with his daughters and grandchildren so he moved to Portland where he built a new routine. Just as in Adrian and in his neighborhood in Taipei – in Portland he was known by all the people in his neighborhood and as a result of being in Portland was close to the 5 people that mattered more than anyone else to him – his daughters Jenny and Michelle, and grandchildren Orion, Iris, and Ada Donald mastered his life to his satisfaction doing the work he found rewarding, in a place he was comfortable, living the way he thought best. Donald is survived by his daughter Jennifer Souders, grandchildren Orion, Iris and Ada, son in law Paul Souders; his daughter Michelle Smith and her partner Sam Bebe; all of Portland; his ex-wife Frances Ellen Valway of Sequim Washington; his brother Richard Henry Smith and sister in law Jacqueline of San Francisco; and brother Robert Jeffery Smith and sister in law Daryl of Windsor Colorado. A Celebration of Life family gathering was held at his gravesite next to his parents at the Adrian Cemetery, July 9, 2022.
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