Herbert Smith was a leader of Port Washington fishery

By Eldon Knoche
of the Journal Sentinel staff

Herbert Smith, former head of Port Washington's Smith Bros. Fisheries, died of a heart attack Tuesday at St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan. He was 74.

He was the grandson of Delos Smith, who in the last century founded the firm now known as Smith Bros. Food Service.

Bert Smith spent much of his early life on Lake Michigan, catching fish for the family business, which eventually included wholesale and retail sales and restaurants in Port Washington and the Los Angeles area. He was in charge of the wholesale fish operation until 1986.

His son, Jeff, called him semi-retired, because "he always came to check on us."

He was born March 24, 1924, in Port Washington to Oliver and Leota Smith and graduated from Port Washington High School.

As the family business expanded, management of the various parts were taken over by him, his two brothers, Lincoln of Colgate and Dan of Punta Gorda, Fla., and his sister, Virginia Haack of Redlands, Calif., all of whom survive.

Over the years, the Smiths sent fewer boats onto the lake and began importing fish from other areas.

Bert Smith, who lived in Cedar Grove, had often sailed for pleasure but did not buy his first sailboat until about 15 years ago.

He was instrumental in Port Washington's harbor and marina project and, as a member of the Port Washington Yacht Club, worked to bring the Clipper Cup race to his city. The race is between Port Washington and Muskegon, Mich.

He was active in the Wisconsin Commercial Fisheries Association, a former board member of the National Fisheries Institute and frequently a spokesman for the fishing industry.

His wife, Beverly, died in 1986.

He is survived by six children: Jeff and Grant Smith and Tori Klopp, all of Port Washington; Christine Conway of Menomonee Falls; Amy Rheinschmidt of Mosinee; and James Smith, of Lakeside, Calif. Jeff and Grant are vice presidents of Smith Bros. Food Service.

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Eernisse Funeraf Home, 1600 W. Grand Ave., Port Washington. The funeral will be at 7 p.m.

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