Gerald “Jerry” Max Smith, 68, passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 15, 2021. Public viewing will be held Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 5-7 p.m. at Whitted Funeral Chapel Shelby, Mont. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the funeral service will be for family only at the Galata Lutheran Church on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 2 p.m. Public can view service on Zoom. A public graveside at the Galata Cemetery will follow the service. The Zoom link can be found on www.asperfh.com.
Jerry was born on July 14, 1952 in Conrad, Mont., to Vernon McClelland Smith and Frances Bonita Charlotte Flage Smith. Jerry attended elementary school in Galata, Mont., and graduated from Shelby High School in 1970. He attended college at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and graduated with Majors in Political Science and History and a Minor in Economics in December of 1973. While in college, he met the love of his life, Susan Linda Cox and they were married on July 21, 1973 in Bloomington, Minn. Jerry and Sue moved to Galata in December of 1973 where Jerry began farming with his uncle, Grant Flage. Jerry farmed with his uncle until his uncle’s death in 2005. He then farmed with his son-in-law, Tracy Kinyon, until Jerry’s death.
Jerry and Sue were blessed with twin girls, Bonnie and Brenda, in August of 1976.
As a younger adult, Jerry loved fishing and hunting with his older brother, Larry. Jerry loved farming and ranching as well as serving on a variety of committees and taking an active role in the political realm. He spent time as a lobbyist at the legislature and ran for office in the 1990’s. He served on many committees including “Save Amtrak” in the 1990’s, the Montana Rural Water Systems, and North Central Montana RC&D and created Smith Consulting, LLC.
Jerry re-opened the Galata Motel in the early 1990’s, which was then open in the summers for tourists, fishermen, and hunters. He enjoyed visiting with customers and many people returned year after year to enjoy the area.
In 2017, Jerry built and opened the Galata General Store next to the Galata Motel, where he could be found each day, willing to sit, drink a cup of coffee and visit about area events, current events and politics. He took great joy in giving little gifts to others. If you were lucky enough to receive one, it meant that he thought highly of you and wanted to let you know.
In recent years, Jerry really enjoyed spending time with his grandsons, attending their sporting events and spending time with them farming, fishing and hunting.
Jerry was always willing to help others. Learning from his Grandmother and his Mother, Jerry was known for providing those in need with food, money, a place to stay, and employment if they wished. His final gift was the gift of tissue donation and our family is honored that he was able to provide medical interventions for those in need.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, Vernon and Frances Smith; younger brother, Bruce Smith; Aunt and Uncle, Grant and Alvina Flage; nephew, Hank Smith and great-niece, Alicia Ann. He is survived by his wife, Susan Smith; brother, Larry (Lucile) Smith; daughters, Bonnie (Tracy) Kinyon and Brenda (Brent) Schleske; four grandsons, Casey (Mariah) Kinyon, Zack Kinyon, Noah Schleske and Logan Schleske; nieces, Danna (James) Pelletier and Esther (Gary) Arnst; great-niece, Erin (Dave) Todak; great-nephew, Kevin Arnst; and special aunt-in-law, Joyce Dye.
Memorials are suggested to Galata Lutheran Church. Condolences can be made to www.asperfh.com.