April 29, 2013

Goodbye my Poppy

I have been extremely MIA this month and I have definitely missed blogging and getting to read my favorite blogs. I might be absent for awhile more. For those who know, thank you for your prayers, emails and kindness. 

My grandfather passed away this Saturday and it has been a terrible ordeal. He suffered great pain his last 5 months of life and went to see Jesus at 8:30am April 27. We had been waiting on the call and when it did, I could hardly breathe. Even when death is expected, it doesn't make the blow any easier. I was with my Dad when the hospice nurse Mattie called. Dad and I had gotten up early to go work on the farm. My Dad's Saturday ritual for years has been to go cut grass, attend his blueberry trees, satsuma trees and vegetables. We had stopped at Hardees for breakfast, gotten trash bags, gas and gone to the St. Elmo seed store. We were driving along, finally on the way to the farm when I hear a melody coming from Daddy's pocket. My heart stopped. Only one place would be calling at 8:45 on a Saturday morning. 

I am thankful my Dad wasn't alone when he got the news about his Father. I am glad I went with him to say goodbye to his parent for the last time. As I looked at the shell of a man that was my grandfather, with tears rolling down my face, I thanked the Lord for his life and for loaning him to us. 

I already miss him like crazy and don't feel like it is real. I honestly never imagined he would be gone. He was such a strong and tough man. I ache for my Dad, my grandfathers oldest son, for my uncle, for all those people who knew my Poppy. I ache that I have no grandparents left and that I don't get to talk to him anymore, call him on the phone or just stop by his house to give him a hug. 

My Poppy with Stephen and I at our wedding, March 2012. 

I miss my granddad, but know I will see him again. Even though I ache and have moments where I completely fall apart, I can't and won't  forget the generosity God gave me to be this mans granddaughter. I thank the Lord Almighty for His abundant grace everyday. 

"The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." Job 1:21

Thanksgiving 2011, Poppy and his oldest great grandson. 

Thanksgiving 2011, Poppy with Austen, his second oldest great grandson. 

My precious Poppy. Christmas 2012. 

I thought I would share the obituary my Father wrote for his Dad. He did so much for the world and his family...I will miss him everyday. 

In Memory of

Curtis Andrew Smith MD

October 11, 1925 - April 27, 2013

Curtis Andrew Smith, M.D., a native of Seattle, Washington, and a resident of Mobile since 1955, died on Saturday, April 27, 2013, at a local health care facility at the age of 87. Curtis was born on October 11, 1925, the only child of James Leonard Smith, an engineer with the Continental Can Company, and Esther Lovgren Smith. 

The first seven years of Curtis' life were spent in Seattle, following which a job transfer moved the family to Syracuse, New York. A bright and energetic boy, Curtis skipped two grades during his elementary school years and graduated from high school at age of 15. Following graduation and still not yet 16, Curtis enrolled at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, in September, 1941. With the occurrence a few months later of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the beginning of America's involvement in World War II, most of the male students at Oberlin were quickly called to military service, leaving only Curtis and a few other underage students in school. Curtis already knew that he wanted to be a doctor, and so he attended college year round to hasten that process. 

By age 18, having completed about two and one half years of college, Curtis applied to and was accepted at the University of Chicago Medical School with an entry date of August, 1944. Before starting medical school, Curtis was called into military service with the United States Army in the Spring of 1944 and went through basic training at Camp Grant in central Illinois. Curtis completed basic training and was discharged the Thursday before the medical school term was to begin on the following Tuesday. He then hitchhiked to his parents' new residence on the outskirts of Chicago, caught a train into the city and then to the medical school campus, enrolled himself, found an apartment, and moved things from his parents' house to the apartment, all in time to begin school. Such resolve would be remarkable for any person, much less for an 18 year old, but that generation was up to any task.

 During his medical school years, Curtis asked for permission to play baseball for the University of Chicago, and surprisingly that permission was granted. Curtis was a pitcher and enjoyed such success that the Chicago White Sox offered him a minor league contract. Medicine came first, however, so Curtis declined the opportunity. Following graduation from medical school in 1948 at the age of 22, Curtis continued at the University of Chicago Medical School first as an intern and then as a resident in surgery. When the Korean War began in December, 1950, Curtis enlisted in the United Sates Air Force with an entry date of July 1, 1951. Before that date, Curtis married his sweetheart, Sonja, in February, 1951, a marriage that was to last 55 years. Fortune and the Air Force smiled upon Curtis, for he was assigned to Brookley Air Force base in Mobile. Both Curtis and Sonja fell in love with Mobile, returning permanently in 1955 after his discharge from military service and completion of his surgical training at the University of Chicago. Curtis actively practiced surgery in Mobile from 1955 to 1990. At that time, Curtis discontinued his surgery practice but continued in family practice medicine for fourteen more years, finally retiring at age 79. Curtis gave back to his community beyond his medical practice. He was active in the Civitan and was Mobile Civitan of the Year in 1963. Curtis' love of baseball caused him to be active in youth baseball and was president of a local youth baseball league. Golf, hunting, and fishing were Curtis' principal outdoor activities, and he enjoyed them until shortly before his death. Curtis and Sonja also found time to take several rigorous foreign trips, hiking around Mt. Blanc in the Alps and the Mt. Everest region of the Himalayas and a safari in Africa. 

Curtis was predeceased by his parents and by his wife Sonja, and by a granddaughter, Amy Smith. He is survived by his sons Andrew Lovgren (Kaye) Smith and Bryan Leonard (Linda) Smith, M.D., eight grandchildren, Kami Smith (Carter) Ralph, Justin Curtis (Kelli) Smith, Nathan Andrew Smith, Clara Smith (Stephen) Schoen, Jonathan Andrew Smith, Alexander Winston Smith, Max Joseph Smith, and Madeline Rose Smith, and five great-grandchildren, Andrew Carter Ralph, Austen Charles Ralph, Thomas Bennet Ralph, Katherine Anne Smith, and Sarah Elizabeth Smith. Curtis was a compassionate, caring, and skilled doctor. He was held in high esteem by his patients and their families, his fellow physicians, nurses, and hospital personnel. The lives of many people were wonderfully touched by him. Curtis' family was also blessed by his loving guidance, patience, and caring approach. His impact in the world continues through them.

 A memorial service to honor and remember Curtis and his life will be held on Tuesday, May 7, 2013, at Dauphin Way United Methodist Church, his church home since 1955. Visitation in the church parlor will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., followed immediately after by the memorial service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Dauphin Way United Methodist Church Foundation Capital Improvement Fund.

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  1. Sweet Clara, I am so sorry to hear about your pain and loss! My prayers are with you friend!

  2. Praying for you and your family sweet friend!

  3. he had an amazing life. so sorry for your loss.

  4. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I will be praying for you and your family!

  5. Sorry for your loss. He seems like an incredible man.

  6. Oh this just breaks my heart! I am so so sorry! Please know, Clara, I will be praying for you, your family, and your sweet Poppy! Sending lots of hugs and love! xoxo



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