David Smith | TheUnion.com
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David Smith

On Nov. 19, 2013, David Eugene Smith died suddenly of heart failure, wearing his work gloves and the headlight on his cap shining bright. He was 65.

David was born April 19, 1948, in Marysville, Calif., to Charles and Winabeth (Covert) Smith. Shortly after, they moved to their home in Grass Valley. He was joined, at two-year intervals, by brothers Dennis and Darrel.

They lived what David recalled as an “idyllic” childhood, roaming and playing in the woods near their home and vacationing at the family mining claims in Sierra County. Here began David’s lifelong fascination with gold mining, collecting and the study of semi-precious minerals.

The family moved to Lake Tahoe for his father’s work in 1960 for four years, where winter school P.E. was skiing at Squaw Valley and ice-skating at Blythe Arena. David and his brothers loved and excelled at these sports. The family returned to Grass Valley, where David graduated from Nevada Union High School and later received an AA degree at Sierra College.

He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1968 and served in Viet Nam as a sergeant in G Company 75th Infantry Rangers Airborne. He was a team leader and veteran of multiple combat missions. His service to our country was exemplary. David was honored with the Combat Infantry Badge, Parachutist Jump Wings, Air Medal, Ranger Tab and a Bronze Star.

In 1979 he married Cheryl Isaacs, and together they had two children — Sagan Joy and son, John Bennett. They were the light and love of his life.

A man of strong convictions, his loyalty to family and friends was beyond question. A tireless worker and solver of problems, he loved to laugh and entertained his family and friends with great stories. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, mining and camping with family and friends and “tinkering,” as he called it.

David is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Sagan and Mike Sutera; son and daughter-in-law, John and Camille Smith; granddaughters Shelby and Ellie Sutera and Leila and Olivia Smith; parents Charles and Winabeth Smith; and brothers Dennis and Darrel Smith. He is also survived by his beloved friends from childhood days and many relatives far and near, who knew and loved him.

So wonderful to think of but so hard to be without …

A family celebration of his life will be held at a later date. The family suggests donations be made to the Nevada County All Veterans Stand Down, P.O. Box 564, Grass Valley CA, 95945


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