Irving Benjamin Smith, age 97 of St. Charles, died on March 16, 2023 at Whitewater Health Services.
He was born on November 4, 1925 in St. Charles, MN, to Benjamin and Meta (Engelbart) Smith. Irv spent his younger years living in Whitewater State Park while his dad was the Superintendent. This is where he began his passion for outdoor sports. He attended St. Charles High School and was active in three sports. After graduation, Irving enlisted in the United States Navy at age 17 and was stationed in the Pacific with the Pacific Fleet. His fleet was anchored in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese signed the Instrument of Surrender in 1945. In 1946, Irving returned home to work with his dad at the Smith Insurance Agency (St. Charles Insurance Agency/Real Estate). He would retire from the agency and pass it to the next generation. On July 30, 1947, Irving was united in marriage to his high school sweetheart, Bette Wilson. Together they were blessed with three children, Scott, Sheri, and Rollie.
Irving was very active in his community playing baseball for the Winona County League, being a member of the Moose Lodge #1114, as well as a member and eventual Master of the Rising Sun Masonic Lodge #49. He was a loyal member of the VFW Post 5630 and Commander of the American Legion Hugh Watson Post 190. Irving was also a member of the Minnesota PIA (Professional Insurance Agents) and held the office of Director for many years.
In his spare time, Irving could be found outside fishing, hunting, or camping. He would pass along these traditions to his children and grandchildren and create lifelong memories with them. He enjoyed golfing in his later years, especially with Bette when they would travel to the south for the winter.
Irv was an avid Minnesota sports fan following the Twins and Vikings. He grew up a Chicago Cubs fan while listening to the radio because that was the only station they could get.
Irving had the privilege to be a part of the Honor Flight taking Veterans to Washington, D.C. His military service was showcased, and he was honored in June of 2019 as the Flag Raiser for a Minnesota Twins game.
He is survived by his sons, Scott (Judy) of Gulf Shores, AL and Rollie Smith of St. Charles; grandchildren, Dan (Kristen), Lee, and Chuck Smith, Staci (Steve) Gricius, Holly (Jeff) Gagen, and Barb (Jack) Schwab; great-grandchildren, Derek (Andrea), Michael, and Kalley Schwab, Madison and Aislin Gagen, Aliya and Sophia Gricius, Kasey and Nick Smith, and Chase Sithisane; sister, Dorothy Wilson-Hadlin; brother-in-law, Joe Wilson; and son-in-law, Butch Hemmelman; as well as many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Bette; daughter, Sheri Hemmelman; his parents; and siblings, Merril Smith and Rachel Wiskow-Beseke.
A funeral service will be held at 11:00am on Friday, March 24, 2023 at Hoff Funeral Home, 519 St. Martin Ave, St. Charles, MN. Visitation will be held from 5:00-7:00pm on Thursday, March 23, 2023 at Hoff Funeral Home - St. Charles, as well as one hour prior to the service on Friday. There will be a Masonic Service for Irving following the visitation on Thursday evening. Irving will be laid to rest in the Hillside Cemetery in St. Charles, MN. Military Honors will be presented by the American Legion Post 190 and VFW Post 5630. Irving's Family would like to thank Mayo Clinic Hospice and Whitewater Health Services for the care their father received. Please sign Irving's guestbook and view the memorial video at www.hofffuneral.com when it becomes available. Hoff Funeral Home - St. Charles, is assisting the family.