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Robert Smith 06/07/2011

Robert LeRoy Smith, age 83 of River Falls, Wisconsin and formerly of Mitchell, South Dakota, died on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at Grace Health Care in River Falls.  Robert was born the son of Robert Lloyd and Katherine (Heintz) Smith on July 22, 1927 in Mitchell, South Dakota.  He graduated from Mitchell High School in 1945.  He was drafted into the Navy after high school and served until August of 1946.  On July 27, 1952, Robert married Kathleen Stromseth-Johnson at the First Lutheran Church in Mitchell.  Robert graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell and taught vocal and instrumental music in many South Dakota schools.  Horticulture was his passion, and in 1966, he and wife Kathleen started and ran Smith’s Greenhouse and Nursery and in 1988, Smithberry Farm, with their son Brian in Mitchell.  Robert was a plant breeder and is credited with introducing two rose cultivars, ‘Dakota Sun’ and ‘Dakota Song’.  He played in the 147th Army National Guard Band for twenty years retiring with the rank of Sergeant First Class.  He also played in the Mitchell municipal band, and directed the youth choir at the First Lutheran Church and the senior choir at the Congregational Church.  Robert and Kathleen moved to River Falls in June 2007.  He is preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Katherine Smith; and brother, Alan Smith.  Robert is survived by his wife of 59 years, Kathleen Smith; sons, Kent Madden, and Brian (Sue) Smith; grandchildren, Dustin Oesterling, April (Sam Mogen-Frankfurt) Oesterling, Mitchell Smith, Rose Smith, Forrest Smith, Xiao Ping Smith; siblings, Louis R. Smith, Keith (Von Dean) Smith, brother-in-law, Gary Johnson; sister-in-law, Dorothy Wall; and nieces, nephew, relatives and friends.  A private memorial service was held in River Falls.  Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services of River Falls.

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