Sky Scene 05

Gary J. Smith

April 20, 2022

Obituary

Gary Joseph Smith, 79, of Dubuque, IA, passed away on April 20, 2022, at 9:54 am at UnityPoint Health Finley Hospital, Dubuque, IA. 

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 12:00 p.m. on Monday, April 25, 2022 at Holy Family Church, New Melleray with Fr. Rodney Allers officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Visitation will be held at the church on Monday from 10:00 a.m. until time of mass. The Leonard Funeral Home & Crematory, 2595 Rockdale Road is assisting the family.  For further obituary information please visit www.leonardfuneralhome.com.

Gary was born in Dubuque, IA, on  February 24, 1943, to his parents, Leonard Thomas Smith and Monica (Clemen) Smith. Gary was raised in  Peosta, IA on the family farm with his seven brothers and sisters. 

Gary graduated from Peosta High School, Class of 1961. Gary married Carol Ann (Bakey) on June 27, 1964, at Holy  Family Church, New Melleray, IA. 

Gary was proudly employed for 48-years at John Deere Dubuque Works as THE third shift toolmaker. Towards the end of his career at John Deere, Gary's left hand was pulled into a milling machine  and he lost a finger and a thumb. He took an ambulance to the University of Iowa Hospital in an attempt to  reattach his digits. In the operating room, the surgeon told him they couldn't be reattached. So, Gary had  the doctor cut off what was left and sew them up, with no anesthesia! He then went back to work the very  next day. Clearly Gary loved his profession, but he went back to work to prevent John Deere from recording  a lost day of work due to an accident...Gary was also very dedicated to his family and was always available  to lend a hand. During his off hours, you could find him working on machinery or helping with the harvest  on the farm in Peosta. Some years, he would do his shift at "Deere's" and head straight to the farm, harvest  corn with his father and brothers, catch a few hours of sleep and repeat! 

Gary was a member of the UAW Local 94 Union, Brotherhood of Teamsters and  Elks Lodge. Gary also enjoyed his experiences as the team bus driver for The Gentlemen of Dubuque Rugby  club. 

In his younger years Gary enjoyed wrenching on cars and owned many classic GM  vehicles, his favorite, a 1969 Pontiac GTO. He also owned one Ford, a couple of Toyota and whatever was  the flavor of the month at Grady's Done Right Autos. Gary definitely knew the meaning of "You asked for it, you got it..." As documented via family photographs, when still in his teens, Gary once hoisted an engine  out of his car using a chain and a branch of a tree on the family farm. He started this project around noon  and by 7:00 pm that same night, he had swapped engines and was on his way to the dance! On any given  weekend you could find Gary at a local stock car race or touring around on his Harley Davidson. Once Gary  fell in love and married Carol, slow pitch softball, bowling, euchre and dancing became more his speed.  Gary was a proud father of two children and grandfather to four. You may have bumped into Gary a time or  two and been unable to escape as he energetically shared every detail about his kids, grandkids, or latest  experience. Later in life, Gary enjoyed vacationing with Carol and spending time in Arizona with family and  friends. After retirement you might have seen Gary at the local lock and damn #11, reading the paper, drinking coffee or just talking to people. He was such a fixture at lock #11, that many of the captains knew him by name and said hello when locking through...While dad is no longer with us, we know he is now  reunited with mom and together they are on their way to breakfast at the Village Inn, you go Elvis! 

He is survived by his son, Dan Smith and his wife Jennifer (Helle) Smith, Dubuque, and their children, Cole and  Gabriella. His daughter, Dana Holthaus, and her husband Brad Holthaus, Dubuque, and their children  Isabella and Sophia. Brothers, Leonard Thomas "Lonnie" Smith II, and Christopher (Mary Beth) Smith.  Sisters, Mary Helen (Richard) Goss, Laura Smith. Cousin Grayson (Janet) Smith. Brother-in-laws Richard  (Keiko) Bakey, Gene “Mud” Bakey, John (Ruth) Bakey, Mark Beckman, Mike Breen and Don Hentges. Sister in-law Juanita Bakey and many loving nieces and nephews. 

Gary is preceded in death by his wife Carol Ann (Bakey) Smith, his father Leonard, mother Monica (Clemen) Smith, and their stillborn baby. His stepmother and aunt, Innocence Ann (Clemen) Smith, brother David Smith, sisters Diane Hentges and Karen Smith. His father-in-law James Bakey, mother-in-law Bernice (Cavanaugh)  Bakey, brother-in-law Jerry (Juanita) Bakey, and sisters-in-law, Mary (Bakey) Breen, Darlene (Bakey)  Beckman and Kay (Gene) Bakey. 

In lieu of flowers, the family will be honoring the University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive  Cancer Center. Gary successfully conquered cancer three times, thanks to the world class care provided by  Dr. James Howe, Dr. Guido Tricot, and Dr. Margarida Silverman and his favorite, "Nurse Ratchet". He also  survived a massive stroke and had a heart valve clip installed, but truly not worthy of mention...Wherever he went, doctors and nurses would say, "Gary had an impressive medical history." 

The family would like to extend gratitude and a heartfelt thank you to the outstanding care  and support provided by the doctors, nurses, and staff from UnityPoint Health – Finley Hospital, ICU, Dubuque, IA. The following individuals went above and beyond to treat and comfort Gary. Thank you, Dr. Braden Powers, Dr. Alexander Chung, Dr. John Whalen and Dr. Tauseef Kahn. Thank you to the AMAZING  nursing team: Michele, Jenna, Jess, Tanya, Diane, Gloria, and Sarah. Thank you to Chaplain Claudia Dorsch and Father Rodney Allers.

 

To send flowers to Gary's family, please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Monday
April 25, 2022

10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Holy Family Church, New Melleray
16500 Holy Family Lane
Peosta, Iowa 52068

Mass of Christian Burial
Monday
April 25, 2022

12:00 PM
Holy Family Church, New Melleray
16500 Holy Family Lane
Peosta, Iowa 52068

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