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Robert Jay Smith, Jr
Birth: Nov. 25, 1987, USA
Death: May 3, 2007
Muskegon County
Michigan, USA

Rob was just a toddler when his father and namesake died at age 45 of heart disease. Robert Sr had been plagued with alcoholism so severe that when he was 24, a judge ordered him committed to the Traverse City Hospital, a mental institution at the time. A doctor noted that the elder Robert had consumed 2 cases of beer a day since he was 16, and had been suffering from tremors and hallucinations. Later, after he was released from the hospital, the elder Smith worked as a school custodian. His widow, Judy, struggled to get by after her husband's death in 1989. The city of Muskegon repeatedly sent her notices to repair her home at 1608 Elwood. An interior inspection showed numerous electrical and plumbing violations, and the exterior had a collapsing front porch and missing exterior door, among other problems. Rob, the youngest of four children, attended Moon Elementary School. He had just begun sixth grade at Steele Middle School when, on Sept. 22, 1998, his mother died at age 50 of pulmonary edema. At age 11, Rob was an orphan. It was a crushing blow to Rob, a chubby, quiet boy whose shyness prompted teasing from other children. On the day he learned of his mother's death someone called him out of the classroom. He was crying and he left and no one saw him for a few days. When he returned, Rob was different. He talked about his mom a lot and remembered going places with her. The two were really close. He tried to be happy, but most of the time he was just sad and lost. After their mother's death, a judge appointed Rob's older brother Jeff as Rob's guardian. Jeff was 31, 20 years older than Rob, and the second-oldest of the Smith children. Jeff and Rob continued to live in the Elwood Street home. Jeff commuted to work in Holland while Rob attended Steele and then Muskegon High School. Rob enjoyed video games and hanging out with his friends. His grades were so-so but he loved playing the Super Smash Brothers Melee video game. Rob and Jeff shared their home with their dogs, Skipper and Max, and Sparks the cat. He was real quiet and kept to himself and had a really good sense of humor. In 2003, tragedy struck again. Rob's nephew, Scott Allan Smith, the 17-year-old son of Rob's brother Scott, drowned in a swimming accident after jumping off the pier at Grand Haven. Rob was devastated by the death of his nephew, who was close in age to Rob, and whom Rob sometimes would refer to as the only family he had. Rob's school attendance became erratic, and by the time he hit 11th grade he was struggling academically. Jeff decided they would move to West Olive in November 2004. Rob attended West Ottawa High School for about a year when his already shaky world fell apart completely. On Sept. 13, 2005, Jeff was rushed to North Ottawa Community Hospital where he died at age 37 of cirrhosis of the liver. Things went downhill from there. What was obvious was things really weren't looking up for him. He had good shelter for all these years. He had a good bond with his brother. They would argue occasionally, but overall, they got along really well. Uprooted again, Rob moved into the basement of the Glenside neighborhood home of his sister and her husband whom Rob never got along with. Rob started attending Fruitport High School as a schools-of-choice student where he was quiet and polite. Knowing his difficult background, a Fruitport High counselor tried to keep close tabs on Rob. She would see him sitting on the benches in front of the school when the day was over, waiting for a ride home from his sister. The losses in Rob's life were taking their toll. It took away his security. Rob graduated from Fruitport in 2006, an accomplishment he was proud of. High school counselors assumed he would take classes at Muskegon Community College. But he never enrolled. His sister got fed up with him not helping out around the house or finding a job, and told him to leave. "Tough love". She knew the struggles he had been through. But she had standards for her home. He appeared at a friends doorstep with a big bag of his stuff and stayed for more than a week. Rob then moved to Webster House in 2006, and stayed there until early March 2007. At some point, Rob learned that the city was preparing to tear down his childhood home on Elwood Street, which he had inherited.
Jeff and Rob didn't leave a forwarding address before they moved to West Olive so notices the city sent to the home had been returned. Webster House officials intervened with the city, managing to get demolition of Rob's family home delayed for 30 days. But repair bills were estimated at $15,000, roughly equivalent to the home's value. Unable to raise the money needed to save his home, Rob experienced yet another loss a month before his death when, on April 2, 2007, Press's Demolition tore down his house. The city paid Press's $3,525. Rob was officially homeless. He died when a trash truck picked up the metal recycling bin he had been sleeping in and spilled him, along with his bed of discarded paper and cardboard, into its compactor. There were no flowers at the funeral home for the visitation. At the funeral, the pastor read some notes his sister had jotted about her brother. 
Cremated, Location of ashes is unknown.
Created by: Elizabeth Reed
Record added: May 03, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 19206733
Robert Jay Smith, Jr
Added by: Elizabeth Reed
Robert Jay Smith, Jr
Added by: Elizabeth Reed
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 Added: Jun. 8, 2010

- Kathleen Fleury Bilbrey
 Added: Dec. 26, 2009
You had such a hard life now rest forever in the arms of your Savior
- michelle
 Added: Jan. 12, 2009
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