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Earnest W. Smith

October 29, 1950 October 20, 2020
Earnest W. Smith
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Obituary for Earnest W. Smith

Earnest “Ernie” W. Smith was born on October 29, 1950 in Vancouver, Washington to Charlie and Marie (Woodward) Smith. Ernie grew up in Tigard, Oregon where he graduated from Tigard High School and attended St. Anthony Catholic School.  From an early age he began a life to public service when he served as an altar boy.

He would meet Laurie M. Ream through friends. When he came home on leave from the Marine Corps, they began dating. They married March 4, 1972 at St Anthony Catholic Church.  Two weeks after marriage, he went overseas, and served in Vietnam. He was a Marine, through and through, upholding strong morals and standards, which he passed on to his children.  Upon coming back from the service, they would live in Elmira, Oregon from 1974-1977 where Ernie began his career in law enforcement, working for Lane County Sheriff’s Office. Drawn to a life of serving others Ernie attended the Oregon State Police Academy where he earned the prestigious Victor G. Atiyeh Award for the most outstanding student. In August 1977 on the day Elvis died, Laurie and Ernie began their most incredible journey: driving a truck, with a 20‘ travel trailer, a skiff, and their lab, Sissie, north to Alaska.

 He served as a police officer on the native reservation in Metlakatla, Alaska.  They lived in different parts of Alaska from 1980-1990. He attended the Alaska State Police Academy and Ernie worked for the Lemon Creek Corrections Facility in Juneau. Both his children were born in Ketchikan, AK.  He truly loved Alaska, and left a piece of his heart there.  Later, the family returned to Oregon and settled in Scio. It was then he worked for the OR Dept of Corrections, at the Maximum Security Unit at OSP. He medically retired in 2001. Ernie had an amazing ability to work with inmates while at 0SP and Lemon Creek. He was often called in to help with the most difficult inmates because he treated them humanely.  He was chosen by OSP to receive advanced training in hostage negotiations, due to that unique ability to communicate with inmates.  He was a member of the Corrections and Peace Officers Association and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

 As an avid hunter, Ernie was a volunteer instructor for the Hunter’s Safety Program and a volunteer with the Organ Donor Program where he promoted organ donation.  Ernie was incredibly passionate about educating people because he was blessed with an organ recipient on January 4, 1999, which saved his life. Besides all of his public service and volunteering, Ernie was an avid gun collector, civil war history buff, and a true sportsman enjoying hunting and fishing.  He had a talent for woodworking; making everything from a dining room table to picture frames.  He had a huge heart for the farm animals he raised.  In retirement, Laurie and he settled in Lyons, Oregon where Ernie could enjoy keeping a perfectly manicured yard. But most of all Ernie loved to spend time with his children and grandchildren. His life was dedicated to serving people.

On October 20, 2020, Ernie passed away with Laurie by his side in the comfort of his home. He is survived by his wife, Laurie M. Smith; children, Andrew W. Smith, Tressa M. Soto Cobos and Andrea "Paige" Boes; grandchildren, Jimena and Hernesto Soto Cobos and Savannah Smith; siblings, Charlynn Stewart, Harold Smith, Chuck Smith, Pattie Fisher and was preceded in death by a brother, Vern Smith.

A funeral service will be held on Friday, October 30, 2020 at 2pm in Weddle Funeral Service with a private burial at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. Due to COVID 19 restrictions please RSVP attendance with Laurie, Andy, or Tressa. For those who cannot attend in person, the service will be livestreamed and recorded for viewers.

Memorial contributions can be made to Kindred Hospice, 698 12th St. Ste. 230, Salem, OR  97301

Live-Stream Link (The video in the link will be available 10 minutes before the scheduled service time.  If you are unable to view the service at the designated time, the recorded video will be available for viewing upon the services conclusion and will stay up indefinitely):

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Previous Events





2:00 PM 10/30/2020 2:00:00 PM
Weddle Funeral Service - Stayton

1777 N. Third Avenue
Stayton, OR 97383

Due to COVID-19 Restrictions please RSVP with the funeral home for attendance. Please call 503-769-2423 to attend. Additionally, guests are asked to wear masks while attending. Any questions please do not hesitate to reach out.

Weddle Funeral Service - Stayton
1777 N. Third Avenue Stayton 97383 OR
United States

Cemetery Details


Willamette National Cemetery Final Resting Place

11800 Mt Scott Blvd.
Portland, OR 97086

11800 Mt Scott Blvd. Portland 97086 OR
United States

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