CHICAGO and BANGOR - Gary Richard Smith, 58, died unexpectedly Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, at Resurrection Hospital, Chicago, with loved ones at his side. Gary was born Aug. 23, 1954.
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Gary attended Bangor High School and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Maine. Gary was extremely proud of his military service that gave him the opportunity to work hard for his country and travel the world. He visited many places and one of the highlights of this time was going to the Vatican during a holy year and receiving a blessing from the Pope. Gary served for 23 years as a combat engineer, infantryman, and chemical operations and demolition expert. He received the following honors from the U.S. Army: Commendation Medal, Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon and the Army of Occupation Medal. He made lifelong friendships and memories from his time in the service and even after he was honorably discharged he carried himself with the dignity and pride of a soldier. Gary went on to have a successful career in commercial construction as a site, safety and health officer. He was a very dedicated worker and received many certificates of excellence from the United States Army Corps of Engineers. He did a lot of this work in his second home, Chicago. Gary took great pride in the fact that he knew more about the city than a lot of the people born and raised there. He was an avid New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox fan but also rooted for the White Sox and the Bears in the city he loved so much. He enjoyed traveling north to Wisconsin to spend time on the shores of Lake Michigan, was a favorite customer and familiar face at many local establishments, and had good friends in Chicago that will miss him dearly.
Gary was predeceased by his loving parents, John Richard Smith and Joan (Hawkes) Smith of Bangor and we know he is reunited with them now. Gary is survived by his son, Sean Smith and his wife, Maulian Smith, of Indian Island and their precious daughters, Jayda Smith, Carmella Bear and Layla Bear. He was extremely proud of the good husband and father Sean has become and so happy that he married Maulian, whom Gary loved very much. He cherished his granddaughters and never missed a chance to talk about how beautiful they are. He is also survived by Sharon Belanger of Levant who, as a big sister, often took care of Gary and is always a source of love and stability for the whole family. Gary had a brother, Tim Smith of Troy; as well as several nieces and nephews. He was especially close with his niece, Tonia Berlucchi of Bangor. Gary is also survived by his longtime companion, Bonnie Halvorsen of Chicago. Gary had a special place in his heart for Sean's best friends since childhood, Travis Bogan of Hermon, Brandon Haney of Brewer and Jason Sudborough of Bangor who was like a nephew to him. Gary had a great lifelong friendship with his ex-wife and Sean's mother, Diane Bean and her husband, David Bean, of Bangor. The family also wants to acknowledge three of Gary's best friends, William J. Gritsonis of Chicago, Jim Donajski of Arizona and Tracy Norton of California.
Gary had a certain intensity about him that was contagious and set the tone in any room. He was animated and articulate about his beliefs and opinions and never held anything back. He fought hard and loved even harder. No matter how you felt about him, it is impossible to not be impacted by him if you were lucky enough to have known him. Gary believed in living well. Eating, drinking, laughing, yelling, loving and making memories were all things he took the time to do right and savor. When you were around him you felt as though you should take in each moment and enjoy it as much as humanly possible. He took the good with the bad in life and whether he was suffering with pain or hardship or enjoying the bliss of good cognac, Jimmy Buffett music, and great company he did so with passion and a fearless love of life.
Please join us in a celebration of his life 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at Brookings-Smith, 133 Center St., Bangor. There will be a reception afterward at the Sea Dog Bar and Restaurant, 26 Front St., Bangor. Donations in Gary's name may be made to Bangor Area Homeless Shelter, 263 Main St., Bangor, ME 04401. Condolences to the family may be expressed at www.Brookings-Smith.com.
Published in BDN Maine on Dec. 29, 2012
133 Center Street Bangor, ME 04401