The sign on Smith and Edwards, The Country Boy's Store, in Farr West, Utah proudly declares "We Have Anything You Want…If We Can Find It." The store's founder, Albert Newell (Bert) Smith, died peacefully at home on March 31, 2016. His grandson, Craig Smith, has served as president of Smith and Edwards since his dad, Jim Smith, died of cancer in March of 2013 and will carry on smoothly with the help of over 100 loyal employees. Bert's love of country and the Constitution are evident the minute customers walk in the door and a visit with him always meant a lesson in freedom and liberty. Bert was still working, buying and selling, going places and keeping in touch with friends and family even though he was nearly 96.
Bert was born April 29, l920 to Arminta Willie and George Albert Smith on their homestead in Holbrook, Idaho. He learned the store business in his parents' Smith General Store. By 1928, Bert's father had to give up homesteading and the Store and the family headed for Ogden, Utah and cattle dealing. In the 20's, the Ogden Stockyards were humming and Albert (Pinto) Smith, a cattle broker and horse trader, brought home enough money to buy a brick house for his family and a touring car. During the Depression, the family lost their home and moved into the bunkhouses at the stockyards. Bert at 16 went off on his own, started hauling and soon bought his own truck.
He met Amelia Shaw at Weber High School and married her in January of 1941 in Liberty, Utah. Their marriage was later solemnized in the Salt Lake Temple. Sherma was born on January 10, 1942. Life was good in west Ogden until 1944 when Bert was drafted. Within three weeks, he had to sell his trucking company and report for duty. He enlisted in the Marine Corps on June 14, 1944 and served in the South Pacific as an armored amphibian tractor crewman from January to September of 1945. Bert and Amelia's first son, James Bert, was born on V-day, August 14, 1945. After his discharge on November 27, 1945, Bert said he spent the rest of his life trying to get even with FDR for making him sell his trucking business and leave Amelia and little Sherma behind. Amelia was the hero, saving all the money from the sale of the trucks and living on $85 a month while Bert was gone.
After the war, Bert found a ranch for sale in Ruby Valley, Nevada and with Amelia's savings, sheer hard work and risk-taking, bought it 30 days later. He made his brother, Paul, a partner when he returned home from his Army service in the Philippines. There was never a brother more loyal than Paul, Bert often said, and he appreciated Paul's lifelong dedication to the OX Ranch. Bert and Amelia helped establish a branch of the LDS Church in Ruby Valley by hosting a Sunday school in their home. Bert later served as a president of the Ruby Valley Branch.
While Paul was holding down the Ranch, Bert continued to grow the Store he founded in 1947. Those 13, 418 Navy mooring buoys he bought in 1962 were a great example of his legendary risk-taking. Lawrence Edwards thought Bert a little too wild and they parted company but always remained very good friends. Bert began studying the Constitution and the principles of the Founding Fathers in the 70's and encouraged many thousands of others to do the same. One of his many converts to the Constitution was Kathy Hyde, who he met in 1975 and invited her to study at the Freeman Institute, now known as the National Center for Constitutional Studies. Kathy spent her life volunteering, most often for political causes. Kathy and her family stayed in occasional contact with Bert and Amelia through the years.
Amelia died October 5, 2004 on her 84th birthday after seven years in an Ogden care center. Bert took her ice cream nearly every evening and even though she didn't recognize anyone, she would say, "Bert Smith, he's my boyfriend."
When his old friend Kathy Hyde ran for the Layton City Council in 2005, Bert supported her campaign with pocket Constitutions. The friendship that began 30 years before turned into a wonderful marriage of nearly ten years. Bert and Kathy were married in October of 2006 and sealed in the Ogden Temple in 2007. Her eight children and their spouses adore and admire Bert and hope to help carry on his patriotic legacy.
Bert Smith was preceded in death by his wife, Amelia, and three of their six children, Brent, Sharlene, and Jim and one grandchild, Sharlene and Mike Casey's infant daughter, Elizabeth. The three children and their spouses who survive him are Sherma (Hugh) Sloan of Colorado, RuthAnn (David) Gladwell of North Ogden and serving a mission in Tempe, AZ, Steven (Carolyn) Smith of South Ogden and daughter-in-law Paula (Jim) Smith and 22 grandchildren and 38 great grandchildren with two on the way. Bert leaves behind his brother Paul Smith, age 90, who still runs the ranch they owned together for 69 years. Bert and his two surviving sisters, Georgia (Dave) Buss and June Jackson were preceded in death by their parents and sisters, Ruth Smith, Ila Smith Taggart and Helen Smith Crane. Bert is also survived by Kathy's eight children, Jason (Brenna) Hyde, Tucker (Kira) Hyde, Megan (Ben) Morrison, Kimberly (Jesse) Washburn, Brian (Kasandra) Hyde, Becky (Courtney) Jackson, Stephanie (Jesse) Clayburn and Kelly (William) Weatherholtz and 24 grandchildren with two on the way.
Funeral services will take place at the Mound Fort (LDS) Stake Center, Saturday, April 9, 2016 at 11:00 AM with a viewing from 9:30-10:30 that morning at the same location, 15th Street and Washington Blvd in Ogden. A viewing on Friday evening, April 8th, will be held from 5:00-8:00 PM, also at the Stake Center. Services conducted by Bishop Mark Nowell of the Marriott-Slaterville 2nd Ward and assisted by Myers Ogden Mortuary and many loved friends from Bert's ward family. The family wishes to thank Bert's doctor and dear friend, Ronald Simmons, for extending his life several years with his attentive and loving care. Remember, Bert's motto was "Never, never, never give up."
Amelia Shaw Smith
1920–2004 (m. 1941)
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