March 2, 1937 – January 1, 2019
Born in Milford, NE
Resided in Lincoln, NE

Dr. Duane H. Smith

Dr. Duane H. Smith, 81, Lincoln, passed away January 1, 2019. Dr. Smith was born in the Milford, Nebraska Industrial Home on March 2, 1937. His mother was Ethel Marie Garner, a ward of the state of Nebraska. He was named Stanley Duane Garner and placed up for adoption by his mother. Dr. Smith was adopted by Pauline and Harry Smith on the 8th day of September 1937. He was baptized in the First Lutheran Church of York, Nebraska and reaffirmed his baptismal vows in Jesus Christ at First Lutheran Church of York, Nebraska.

Dr. Smith married his high school sweetheart, Joyce Dawn Roehrs, in 1957, their marriage was blessed with four daughters, Teresa Kay (Dr. Brent Willman), Kristi Ann Jacobson, Nicole Lynn (Patrick O’Neil), Jennifer May (Matt Hanson), 14 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. Also surviving Dr. Smith is his brothers Don Smith (RuthAnne), Frank Mercik (Sharon) and Ron Mercik (Patty); several nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents Harry and Pauline (Wochner) Smith and sister Sharon.

Dr. Smith graduated from York High School in 1955. He was a starting quarterback on the York High School football team for two years, and a starting guard on the basketball team, also for two years. He was first baseman on the Legion baseball team and lettered in track three years. Dr. Smith established a state high school high jump record that remained unbroken for 16 years. He was named Nebraska High School Athlete of the year by the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper for the State of Nebraska. In 1959 Dr. Smith placed second in the nation in the high jump in the NAIA track meet in Sioux Falls, SD. He graduated from Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska in 1959 and pursued a career in teaching and coaching. In 1962 his basketball team at Utica was runner-up in the Class C finals of the Nebraska State Boy’s High School tournament. In 1963 his team returned and won the state tournament. Dr. Smith returned to school and after a year of pre-dental study, was accepted into the University of Nebraska medical Center College of Dentistry, from where he graduated in 1968.

In 1968 Dr. Smith found himself in the United State Navy stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, a marine base where he was deployed aboard the USS Guam (helicopter assault ship), and Guantanamo Bay Cuba, as the only dentist for 1500 marines. His wife Joyce taught school in Jacksonville, North Carolina and took care of their two older daughters during these tours of duty. Joyce and Duane took very active roles in the building of their new church in North Carolina; Dr. Smith serving as congregational president, while his wife taught Sunday school, and served on several committees. They both have played no small role in helping to build a new church, Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church, in Sioux Falls. Both have served on many committees and sang in the choir. Dr. Smith also served as president elect (2005) and president of the congregation (2006). In 1964 the Smith represented their church on a mission to Guatemala.

Dr. Smith is a past Rotarian, has served as president of his respective dental district four times and is past president of the Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry Alumni Association.

After visiting the Holy Land in 2008, the Smith’s retired and returned to Lincoln, Nebraska in May of 2013 where they have served as members of Messiah Lutheran Church.

Funeral Service: 10:30 a.m. Saturday (1-5-19) Messiah Lutheran Church, 1800 S. 84th Street. Graveside committal service will be at 2:30 p.m. at Greenwood Cemetery, York, NE.

Visitation with family present from 6-7:30 p.m. Friday at Roper and Sons, 4300 ‘O’ Street.

Memorials to Messiah Lutheran Church.

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