Herbert (Herb) E. Smith

1929 - 2019


Herbert (Herb) E. Smith, lifelong farmer and farm activist, died Monday September 9th at Aspen Grove Assisted Living Community. Herb had been a resident of “The Grove” for the past 8 months. He was 89 years young. Herb was recovering from a bout of pneumonia when his body finally failed him and he joined his beloved wife Joanne along with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Herb was born into a farm family, October 14, 1929, to Russell and Dorothy (Budlong) Smith and it was always his destiny to be a farmer. The oldest of 8 children, at age 7 he was working along side his father on the family farm in Temperance MI. He graduated from Dundee H.S. in 1947 while still working on the farm. In 1950 Herb enlisted in the Air Force and served honorably in the Korean Conflict. He flew 29 missions aboard a B29 Bomber as a radioman and was discharged with the rank of Sergeant.


Upon his discharge after Korea, he returned home to Temperance and married Joanne Henry on June 9, 1956. Joanne grew up on her family’s farm just ½ mile south of Herb. They raised 3 daughters Debbie, Vicki, and Bev, who are married and have given them 8 grandchildren. He always told his daughters he knew he was going to marry Joanne someday, even when they were young. Joanne passed away in 2009 after 53 years of marriage. Upon Joanne’s passing, Herb funded an annual music scholarship at Monroe County Community College in her name, where he later became a member of the Foundation Board.


Along with working the family farm, Herb retired from Tecumseh Products after 30 years as a machine operator. During that 30 years, farming always remained his true vocation. The “Products” always allowed him a 6 week furlough in both spring and fall to plant and harvest.


When Herb’s father passed in 1984, he purchased the family homestead and farm from the estate. That family farm is now registered with the Historical Society of Michigan as a Sesquicentennial Farm, remaining in the family for over 150 years. Herb and Joanne completely refurbished the 6 bedroom farmhouse over the next year. When complete, the home was a participant in many Monroe County farm tours, where his aunts would tell tales of catching frogs in the basement when the house was being built in the early 1900s.


Herb was a lifetime member of Morocco United Brethren Church of Temperance. He was always very involved in the church throughout his life teaching Sunday School up until his last year. Herb also served as Sunday School Superintendent, Trustee, Elder, and Chairman of the Board. Herb and Joanne were a couple of great faith and gave their daughters a wonderful Christian upbringing.


Herb never let a single blade of grass grow under his feet. He was very proud of the fact that he and Joanne had traveled to all 50 states and countless foreign countries. He was constantly on the go, whether farming or traveling. The family always referred to him as the Energizer Bunny and would just smile when he came home from the fields for dinner. He would pull in his truck, run to the house, say grace, eat dinner, run back to his truck, and return to the field. He still repeated the same routine well into his 80’s. When he didn’t have time to drive home, meals were delivered to the field where he would eat with Joanne, one of his daughters, or their husbands.


Herb was always very politically active in support of farmers, farming issues and legislation. His memberships include Farm Services Agency-County Commissioner, Monroe County Ag Council, American Soybean Board, Monroe County Planning Commission, Michigan Technical Committee, Monroe County Farm Bureau Board, National Soybean Ambassador, and the Monroe County Conservation District. He was also a member of the Lynn C. Weeman American Legion Post in Temperance MI for over 40 years. The late Congressman John Dingell and his wife, current Congresswoman Debbie Dingell were often guests at the Smith farm to discuss those important farm issues.


In his last years he was a fixture at the Monday morning “Liars Club” at the farm of his friend, the late Joe Otto. He looked forward to that breakfast and the family would like to thank all the friends and farmers who helped with transportation to and from.


After it was all said and done, the most important part of Herb’s life was his family. After Joanne’s passing, dinner was always at one of his girls’ homes. He always said he took the 1st offer, and there was always an offer. Herb was extremely proud of his daughters and their families. He was a constant at every event for his grandchildren. Herb is survived by his 3 daughters, Debbie (Dennie) Longstreet, of Temperance, Vicki (Don) Harris of Lasalle, and Bev (Neil) Roebuck of Ida. It cannot be overstated how much he will be missed by his grandchildren, Garth (Kelly), their children, Emma and Isabelle, Garret, and Grant Longstreet, Brandon, Brent, and Brice Harris, Kyle (Nancie), and Kaylee Roebuck.

Herb is also survived by brothers, Keith (Dorothy), Carl (Kay), Wayne, and a sister Faye. He was preceded in death by brothers Harold, Lauren and Lawrence.


The family thanks the dedicated caregivers of Aspen Grove Assisted Living in Lambertville MI. We are grateful for the care and friendship of neighbor Annamae Winkleman and friend Elaine Folk. May the Lord Bless each of you.


Visitation will be held at Capaul Funeral Home, Ida Michigan, Monday September 16, from noon-8pm. A funeral and celebration of Herb’s life will be held at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Ida, Tuesday September 17 at 11am. Herb will be laid to rest at Roselawn Cemetery alongside his beloved wife Joanne.


Memorials may be made to:

Young Life Southeast Michigan, | PO Box 94 Ida, MI 48140-0094, or

Hospice of Northwest Ohio


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