Obituary of Lester H. Smith

Died April 14th, 1938.

Port Washington Loses Civic Leader, Lester H. Smith


The city of Port Washington suffered an irretrievable loss last Thursday with the death of Lester H. Smith, 47, prominent businessman and civic leader here. His death occurred at St. Joseph's hospital, Milwaukee, where he had been confined for 10 days, at 4 p.m.; an injury sustained in the World War led to internal complications.

Fought For Conservation

Mr. Smith was an outstanding figure in the fishing industry along the Great Lakes and throughout country; he was also active in civic and fraternal circles of Port Washington. For years he fought for conservation measures along the Lakes, and in this city he ever championed the cause which he believed for the good of all. His untimely death will be sincerely mourned by all who knew him. He was born in Belgium January 29th, 1891, the son of Delos H. and Delia B. (Wassink) Smith. The major part of his life was lived in this city where he graduated from high school after which he attended the University of Wisconsin, later completing post-graduate work.

He entered the naval service at Great Lakes, Illinois on June 5th, 1917, and advanced until he was first class quartermaster on the U. S. S. Matsonia in transport service. He was injured while on duty Aug. 1, 1919, and was in the hospital at that time for two months.

On Oct. 29th, 1924 he was married in upper Michigan to Florence Mehring of this city, who survives him along with three children, Alan, 12, Carol, 11, and Lloyd, 6: also surviving are his parents; one brother, Oliver, two sisters Misses Evelyn and Hope, all of this city.

Active in Many Affairs

Mr. Smith was president of Smith Bros. Fisheries, Inc., Port Washington, and Smith Bros. Fisheries Milwaukee, one of the largest commercial fishing concerns on the Great Lakes; division vice-president of the American Fisheries society; division vice-president of the International Society of Fisheries, and vice-chairman of the National Fishery Advisory committee. His community activities include membership in Port Washington Rotary, the Andrew Legion, Knights of Pythias, Ozaukee lodge No. 17, F. & A. M., Eastern Star, Square Circle and the Congregational church. He was a director of the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce and the Building and Loan association here. For 10 years he served on the board of education.

Mr. Smith was a vital force or school board and was greatly interested in bettering school conditions. Prior to the purchase of the Cassidy property by the city, he secured a personal option on the land so the people of the city would have time to vote on its acquisition.

The deep affection and regard in which Mr. Smith was held by his many friends in this country was attested to by the fact that over 2,500 persons, including numerous industrial and political notables, viewed the remains at the Masonic Temple. Nearly 250 floral tributes, sent from 32 states of the Union, completely filled the hall; one of them, from local employees, was a ship model about seven feet long; there was also smaller ship, an anchor, and a bouquet designed like a ship's steering wheel, epitomizing the industry which Mr. Smith has been connected for the major part of his life.

Masonic, Legion Services

Funeral services were jointly held Monday afternoon at 2 o'clock at the Masonic Temple by the Ozaukee Lodge and the American Legion, after which military rites were observed by the Legion at the Union cemetery here. Rev. Richard Hulbert of the Congregational church conducted the religious services both at the Temple and the grave. More than 1,000 people attended the funeral. Active pallbearers, all of this were: F. E. Altendorf, Herbert Karnstedt, George Kendall, Al Loth, Norbert Perry and Roy Uebele. Honorary pallbearers were selected following organizations: the board of education and Knights of Pythias, Rotary club, Building and Loan Association and American Legion.

Noted among those attending the funeral were: W. H. McKenzie, director of the conservation commission, and Barney Devine, chief enforcement officer of the commission, both of Madison; Dr. John Van Oosten, director in charge of Great Lakes investigation for the bureau of fisheries, and Hilary Deesn. an associate of Dr. Van Oosten, both of Ann Arbor. Michigan.
Virginia Smith (now Haack) comments:
I remember my Dad (Oliver H. Smith) coming home mid-day when Lester died; throwing himself on the sofa, shaking, and sobbing for what seemed hours, I had never seen him cry before (or since). Mother (Leota C. Smith (was Cooley)) explained how much he depended his brother to lead the family business. . . . that he could never fill his shoes.

The original eulogy and services held at the Ozaukee Lodge number 17 where Lester H. Smith was the 175th raised member. Five pages follow.

Original news article:
Obituary of Lester H. Smith; Died April 14th, 1938: Port Washington Loses Civic Leader, Lester H. Smith