Russel H. Smith, Jr., age 77, of Steuben, passed away into the arms of his Lord and Savior on Monday afternoon, July 26, 2021 at the Trillium House in Marquette. He was born on February 6, 1944 in Kalamazoo, Michigan to Russell and May (Damery) Smith, Sr. Russ grew up in Kalamazoo and graduated from Loy Norrix High School in 1962. He graduated college at Ferris and served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. Russ married Carol Sue McKinley on February 25, 1967 and together raised their three children in the Kalamazoo and Gobles areas. Russ was a salesman for Central Michigan Paper Company in Ada for many years. He and Carol retired to the Upper Peninsula and they both enjoyed their home in the beautiful U.P. at their cabin on the Indian River. They both enjoyed traveling together, especially to Alaska and out West. Russ and Carol were married over forty-six years when she preceded him in death on September 20, 2013. He loved the outdoors and enjoyed his time in nature fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, and four wheeling. Russ especially enjoyed deer hunting and bird hunting with his son and elk hunting out West with friends. He knew the woods, trails, and roads like his own backyard and had good directional abilities that he used on many adventures. Just because you were lost, doesn’t mean Russ was. He also had a passion for antique cars and photography. Russ was an active and faithful member of the Munising Baptist Church and especially enjoyed the lessons and fellowship of Sunday evening services. He also enjoyed mentoring and driving the bus for kids who needed rides to Sunday School. Russ enjoyed conversation with friends and strangers alike. Russ was grateful for a free country and an unfailing God and Savior. He would leave the advice to not look forwards or backwards, but to look upwards.
Russ is survived by three children – Bryan (Penny Kawakami) Smith of Gobles, Shanna (Steve) Ax of Allegan, and Kristen (Tony) Bechler of Schoolcraft; grandchildren – Tyler and Timothy Ax, Britta Bechler, Brooklyn Barba, and Ethan Penny; great grandchildren – Alexander Bechler and Jett Barbra; sister – Barbara Smith of Glen Arbor; and numerous nieces and nephews. Russ was preceded in death by his parents, wife Carol, and sisters Mary Lou Harris and Bonnie Spears.
Services for Russ will be held at the Munising Baptist Church in Wetmore on Friday, July 30, 2021. Visiting time with family and friends will be from 12:00 noon until 2:00 p.m. Pastor Jason LaFlamme will conduct Russ’ funeral service at 2:00 p.m. Following the funeral service, there will be a time of fellowship where Russ requested that his favorite dessert, pie, will be served on real plates. Graveside services will take place at the Hiawatha Township Cemetery at 5:00 p.m. on Friday.
Russ’ children request that you leave a message on his tribute wall describing a story or and adventure that you took with Russ.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Russ’ name are requested to be made to the Munising Baptist Church.
To send sympathy gifts to the family or plant a tree in memory of Russell Howard Smith, Jr., please visit our tribute store.
Munising Baptist Church
N6285 Connors Road, Wetmore MI 49895