Dr. George John Smith, Colonel, U.S. Army, 56, passed away suddenly, taking his own life at his home in Pampa, Texas, on Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019.
He was born in Leadville on May 10, 1963, to Dr. Bernard J. and Carol L. (Overmyer) Smith, and raised on the Smith Ranch, established south of Leadville in 1877 by his great-grandfather, Henry Smith. He attended St. Mary’s, Lake County Intermediate, and Lake County Junior High and High Schools, graduating in 1981. At LCHS, he excelled in wrestling and football and lettered in both sports.
Smith attended Western State College in Gunnison, graduating with honors and a Bachelor’s Degree in biology in 1986. He attended medical school at the University of Texas, Galveston, and was awarded his M.D. in 1992. He completed a five-year surgery residency in San Antonio, Texas, in 1997, and married his wife, Brenda Montiel, that same year.
Smith began a surgery practice in Pampa, Texas, but was soon called to serve his country as a U.S. Army surgeon. He completed many tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and saved countless lives on the operating table in both areas of conflict up through October of 2019.
Smith was an athlete and outdoor enthusiast, and, among other activities, enjoyed mountain climbing, especially his ascent of Mt. Rainier in 1982. He continued to root for Colorado sports teams wherever he was in the world. His family said he had a quick, mischievous wit, loved cooking and good food, and experiencing new and different cultures. Smith loved spending time in Leadville and on the Smith Ranch, where he enjoyed visiting with relatives and friends. He will be greatly missed, according to his family.
He was preceded in death by his parents and brother-in law Bert Sodic. He is survived by his wife Brenda; step-daughter Nattie Chapa and step-son Richard Byno; grandchildren Payne, Maddie and Daniel Chapa, Kensler Hopp, and Braelyn and Brynley Byno; siblings Monica Stevenson, Anne (Don) Spor, Erin Smith (Warren Park), Blaine (Kay) Smith, Padraic Smith (partner, John Morin), Kate (John) Borton, Vicki (Matt) Schehrer, Grace Smith-Sodic, Barbara (Steve) LaRocco, and Eileen (Tom) Henry; nieces Natalie (Robert) Sudar, Brigid Crandell, Lesley (Luke) Hinzmann, Keeley Smith, Sister Karol Joseph Spor, Anna Schehrer, Olivia LaRocco, Kiera Medina, Etta and Neeve Henry; nephews Quinn and Gannon Smith, Ryan (Kayla) Spor, Evan Schehrer, Alex Charrier, Aidan Medina and Devin Henry; and aunts, cousins, and great-nieces and great-nephews.
A funeral mass was held in Pampa, Texas, on Dec. 31, 2019. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to PTSD recovery organizations or the Wounded Warriors Project.
Visit www.kentfuneralhomes.com to leave a condolence or remembrance for his family.