Gary Martin Smith, 82, of Lindsay was born on March 22, 1935 to Charles Hershel Smith and Grace Fay Stiles Smith in Mangum, Oklahoma. He passed from this life on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at his home in Lindsay.
Gary's family moved to Lindsay in November 1944, after purchasing the town's newspaper, the Lindsay News. In 1963, under Gary's guidance as publisher, the paper became the first full-size newspaper in Oklahoma to convert to the offset printing method, which would later be used in all newspapers. He was Oklahoma's most award-winning weekly newspaper publisher, honored as publishing the outstanding newspaper in its division four consecutive years - 1963, 1964, 1965, and 1966 - in the Oklahoma State Fair Contest.
He married the love of his life, Harriet Edmiston, on April 13, 1963. They welcomed a daughter, Holly, in April of 1966.
In 1969, Gary moved his family to south Texas, where he was ad manager for the Alvin Sun and Alvin Advertiser, then publisher of the Port Lavaca Wave, and later, publisher of the Cleveland Advocate and the Eastex Shopper.
Gary and Harriet moved back home to Lindsay from south Texas, and in a small, two-room office, on October 21, 1981, they, along with their daughter, Holly, and Gary's sister, Ursula Pohl, published the first edition of The Shopper News Note.
Once Gary became friends with someone, they were friends for life. He remained close to his classmates from Lindsay High School's class of 1953, and organized yearly class reunions for decades. His oldest friends called him "Smokey."
Gary graduated from the University of Oklahoma, and then served in the U.S. Army. He did a little bit of everything. He was one of Lindsay's coffee drinkers, who gathered daily to solve the world's problems. He was an avid outdoorsman, and enjoyed farming, ranching, camping and four-wheeling with his deer camp buddies, hunting, fishing, and scuba diving. He sponsored the blood drives in Lindsay, had served on the board of the Lindsay Chamber of Commerce, had been a Rotarian, member of Lions Club, and served on Lindsay's Industrial Foundation.
His greatest outdoor love was his cattle. He owned a herd with a long-time friend, and they built a herd whose yearly calf crop was highly sought after. With his cattle and all of his animals, he operated under Proverbs 12:10 - "A righteous man regards the life of his animals...", always providing proper care for them, always mindful that the Lord had entrusted their care to him.
Throughout his life, Gary was known for his humor and quick wit. He had a saying for everything. His daughter believes his favorite saying was, "Little girls, like canoes, handle best when paddled from the rear." She says that usually got her right back in line.
He was always in a good mood. He became famous for making a purchase in a store, and then giving the employees the rest of the day off.
His three girls - his wife, his daughter, and his granddaughter - all got special nicknames, a sign of his greatest affection. His wife was "Babe," his daughter "Punkin," and his granddaughter "SkiKat."
He was a gentleman in every sense of the word, and had a way of making others feel valued. Throughout his days, Gary enjoyed life to the fullest, and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Harriet of the home; his daughter Holly and husband William Belknap of Lindsay; his granddaughter, Cristi Belknap of Lindsay; and his great-grandson, Gunnar.
Gary was preceded in death by his parents, Hershel and Grace Smith; his sister, Ursula Pohl; and his brother, Lanny Smith.
Graveside services were held at 2 p.m. Friday, April 21, 2017 at Green Hill Cemetery in Lindsay with Bro. Bill Love officiating. Burial was under the direction of John W. Williams of Winans Funeral Home in Maysville. Words of comfort may be sent to the family at www.winansfuneralhome.com.
Published on April 21, 2017