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Kenneth "Ken" Duane Smith
November 4, 1950 ~ October 6, 2023 (age 72) 72 Years Old
15 Flowers or Condolences have been shared with support of Kenneth "Ken"'s family - View on Tribute Wall
Kenneth “Ken” Duane Smith, 72, passed away peacefully in his home on October 6, 2023, following a courageous and unwavering seven-year battle with cancer.
Ken was born November 4, 1950, to Eugene and Ethel (Harris) Smith in Grand Rapids, MN. A lifelong resident of Coleraine, “Smitty” attended Greenway schools and was proud to be a member of the illustrious Greenway High School Class of 1969. After graduating from Hibbing Technical School in 1971, he worked at Blandin Paper Company for 25 years, where he also served as a UPMW steward and as a member of the Wood Fibers Council.
Ken married his best friend and the love of his life Trika Guyer in 1981. He was an amazing father who raised his children to value integrity, kindness, and compassion, just as he exemplified these traits in his own life. To his children he passed on his love of music, sports, current events, and community involvement. As a proud grandpa, Ken would dance and sing Frankie Valli songs with his grandchildren like no one was watching. His greatest joy in life was his family.
Ken was a public servant for over 50 years. He was a member of the Coleraine Fire Department for 24 years and continued to enjoy fundraising for the department after his retirement, earning the honor of “Most Active Retiree” several times. First elected at the age of 21, Ken served on the Coleraine City Council for 26 years, including ten years as mayor. During his tenure, a dream became reality as the City initiated the construction of the Eagle Ridge Golf Course. He also served on the RAMS board and co-chaired both the Coleraine Diamond Jubilee and Coleraine Centennial Committees. Most recently, he was an active member of the Coleraine City Planning and Zoning Commission. In all these positions, he always sought what was best for his beloved City of Coleraine. When delivering Meals on Wheels, a half-hour commitment would often take Ken three hours, as he would sometimes return to visit, shovel snow, or help a resident lace his “new-fangled” boots. He also enjoyed sharing his pontoon with children at Vandyke Elementary School on Trout Lake Day. Although the fish usually remained elusive, the gummy worms and goldfish crackers were plentiful.
Though he loved to be home, Ken also enjoyed road trips and traveling with Trika. Together they were able to visit 21 of 30 Major League Baseball stadiums. He was a founder of the Penguins, a group of friends who went to restaurants, concerts, and theater performances together. During deer season he enjoyed time with friends and family at Butch’s Hunting Lodge. Unfortunately, the stories are unclear because “what happens at deer camp stays at deer camp.”
Ken was known for his “impeccable timing” and late arrivals, which became affectionately known as “Smith Time”. He embodied a deep love of friends, neighbors, and community. Ken was a people person with a unique ability to strike up a conversation with anyone, using his quick wit to make them laugh. He will long be remembered for his generosity, selflessness, and humility.
Ken is now reunited with his parents; mother-in-law, Elma (Jokinen) Guyer; father-in-law, Dale “Doc” Guyer; a sister-in-law, Jean (Niemi) Smith; brothers-in-law, Jim “Peanut” and Joe “Smuzzy” Guyer; and a niece, Jennie Guyer.
Ken’s legacy will continue through Trika, his wife of 42 years; daughter, Kendra (Dustin) Arthur; son, Corey (Amber) Smith; grandchildren, Aurelia, Warren, Abram, and Kendrick Arthur, Ethan Metzer, Carson, Kensley, and Andrik Smith; honorary granddaughter, Alisha Johnson; brother, Rich Smith; sister, Deb (Bill) Munter; sisters-in-law, Holly Guyer and Cricket Guyer; and several cherished nieces and nephews.
The Smith family would like to thank the staff at Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital and Pharmacy, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minnesota Oncology, and St. Croix Hospice. We feel very blessed to have had such wonderful care throughout Ken’s journey.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Trout Lake Community Center on Saturday, October 21. It will begin at 11:00 am with a prayer service and will be followed by a visitation and luncheon from 12:00 to 2:00 pm. In honor of Ken’s love of Minnesota sports, friends and family in attendance are encouraged to wear Twins, Vikings, Greenway, or any Minnesota team attire. Private interment will take place at Lakeview Cemetery at a later date.