Millie Smith
Millie Smith
Mrs. Mildred "Millie" Kay Smith, 77, Rochester, passed away unexpectedly Wednesday morning, May 31, 2017, at her residence.

On Nov. 20, 1939, Mildred Kay Beach was born in Valparaiso. She was a cherished daughter of Clarence and Lillian Erwin Beach. Growing up, she shared her childhood with a sister, Carolyn, and brother Cliff. In 1957, she graduated from Morgan Township High School.

In Valparaiso on June 8, 1957, Millie married the love of her life, Mr. Dale Somers Smith. Together they shared nearly 60 years of life's adventures; they would have marked their six-decade anniversary next week. From their union came three wonderful children, Dave, Sandy and Kevin. Their family tree continued to grow with the added blessings of 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

A devoted member of the Whippoorwill Community Church, Millie played the piano for Sunday services for the past 30 years. Prior to this she was a member of and played for the Kewanna Church of Christ. During the winter season, she and Dale attended faithfully, the McGregor Baptist Church in Fort Myers, Fla. Bunco was Millie's game of choice. She was an accomplished member of the Kewanna Gals Bunco Club. This past winter they enjoyed a cruise celebrating 50 years together as a club.

Three seasonal rotations comprised Millie's world: planting, the harvest and Florida. Estero was their home away from home for the winter months. The sunshine, sand and surf welcomed them every December. She and Dale enjoyed a more than 35-year stint there, garnering many close friendships.

An avid reader, Millie read many books. She was a self-taught musician, playing the keyboard and piano for her enjoyment. A sports enthusiast, Millie loved watching the Chicago Bulls, especially Michael Jordan, during their years of dominance. She also enjoyed NCAA basketball and March Madness.

To relax, Millie enjoyed catching the warm summer breeze while sitting in the gazebo. Centrally located on the homestead, she could oversee the fieldwork and observe the tractors and trucks coming and going. With the bountiful autumn harvest, Millie's preferred position was her special seat in the elevator office, weighing trucks in and out. Each spring, she planted flowers to enhance the landscape of her home. She also enjoyed yardwork, riding her John Deere mower, cutting and trimming with meticulous care. When her job was complete, the yard was groomed to perfection. It was her own gold standard.

As the matriarch of the Smith family, Grandma Millie was quite at home from her kitchen command post. She was a proud mother and farm wife, assisting Dale with overseeing the daily operations, sometimes driving a tractor or pulling a cart. In the early years, Grandma Millie served as the Smith farm's No. 1 combine operator. The grandchildren enjoyed riding with her for many hours during each harvest season. Of course, she made certain everyone was fed with a feast during the busy seasons of the planting and harvest.

Millie thoroughly enjoyed hosting family celebrations and holiday gatherings. Paramount in her life were her grandchildren. During their formative years, she was their No. 1 cheerleader whether it was at 4-H events and livestock competitions, horse shows, four-wheeler racing, courtside for a basketball or volleyball game or on the bleachers at a tractor pull. Grandma Millie could always be seen cheering from the stands.

Left to cherish the memory of Millie are her husband, Dale; three children, Dave Smith and wife Melana, Sandy Owens and husband Gray, and Kevin Smith and wife Chris, all of Rochester; 10 grandchildren, Lindsay Straeter and husband Matt, Linnea Baney and husband Jim, Luke Smith and wife Cassie, Landon Smith and wife Heather, Arik Owens and wife Erin, Jason Owens and wife Melinda, Stacey Miller and husband David, Ciara Kalischuk and husband Tyson, Travis Smith and wife Ashlie, and Olivia Smith; great-grandchildren Ellie and Mason Straeter, Parker and Asher Smith, Lydia Baney, Abby Owens, and Kensie and Jake Owens; a sister, Carolyn Beach, Kouts; a brother, Cliff Beach and wife Dawn, Valparaiso; and several nieces and nephews.

Millie was preceded in death by her parents; a grandson, Lance David Smith; and a great-granddaughter, Allison Owens.

A celebration of the life of Millie Smith will be at 11 a.m. on Monday, June 5, 2017, at the Good Family Funeral Home, 1200 W. 18th St., Rochester, with Pastor Brian Sewell officiating. Friends may visit with the family from 4-8 p.m. on Sunday, June 4, 2017, and one hour prior to the service Monday at the funeral home. Interment will be in the Rochester IOOF Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to the Whippoorwill Community Church Building Fund, 4795 N. 200 West, Rochester, IN 46975. Electronic expressions of sympathy may be made to her family at www.goodfamilyfh.com.