Kirby Smith, 79, passed peacefully March 25, in his Balsam Lake home. He was born August 19, 1941, lived in Tony, Park Falls, Milltown and Balsam Lake Wisconsin. He was a Boy scout earning the rank of Eagle Scout. He taught High School Language Arts- Literature at Park Falls (3 years) and Unity (35 years). He thoroughly enjoyed his profession as was witnessed by the many students who said he was their “Favorite” teacher. He directed Drama Club, working with the Music department directing plays and musicals. He was a great story / joke teller- a skill handed down from his parents and perfected in conversations and classes.
He was an avid fisherman, hunter, and a diehard Packer Backer. He enjoyed hunting with his Dad, brother and friends at their Flambeau cabin. He also enjoyed hunting trips to South Dakota with his Dad, good neighbor, and brother-in-law. His black labs were constant hunting companions. He was a GB stock holder and had opportunity to attend one stockholder’s meeting.
Kirby visited the Arctic Circle with his Dad and witnessed a huge caribou migration. He picked up a gigantic set of horns as a memento. They adorned our house for several decades before getting sent to the maple syrup shack where they poked us as we filtered the syrup. He and his Dad set up the maple syrup cook shack and cooked for over 30 years. It was a fun activity shared with his Dad and neighbors before his health limited his participation. He was still able to give armchair advice to those of us taking over the adventure of maple syrup cooking. We are delighted our new neighbors are now carrying on this tradition – they get the equipment and work – we get the finished product! Life is Good. Thank you, God.
Kirby was an avid snowmobiler both on the Polk County trails and Flambeau Forest trails. Many rides were taken to Paradise for breakfast, ribs or chicken- even Friday nights to celebrate a Unity basketball victory. Once the snowmobiles were sold there were no activities until several years ago when a Ranger UTV was purchased for maple syrup season. He enjoyed riding with the Luck ATV/ UTV Club during the summer / fall months.
We enjoyed 5 trips to Alaska – two cruises, thanks to Dick Klatt for encouraging him take the cruise. Three land trips that featured fishing for halibut, whale watching and taking a small plane to land on the glacier on Denali. We also visited former students and friends. Denali National Park had a day long tour through the park we traveled twice - once by ourselves; the second time, with family.
We built a new one level home in 2018 – 2019. He did not like the new home as he had to go from a total basement “man cave” to a single room. He did enjoy his personal smoking patio just outside his “man cave” door with friends.
He is survived by Jane, his wife of 45 years, their rescue dog, Aussie; nieces Sherry (Mark) Cyra, Marilyn (Matt) Salbenblatt; nephew David (Neely Orr) Smith; brothers and sisters- in- law; cousins; and many friends. He is preceded in death by his parents, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law and many relatives.
You are invited to leave condolences, memories and photos at www.rowefh.com
. Arrangements are entrusted to Rowe Funeral Home, 715-472-2444 and the Northwest Wisconsin Cremation Center in Milltown, www.wicremationcenter.com