Dr. George John Smith

Born: Fri., May 10, 1963
Died: Sat., Dec. 28, 2019



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Dr. George John Smith, MD, Col. US Army, 56, passed away suddenly, taking his own life at his home in Pampa, TX, on Saturday, December 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. George attended St. Mary’s, Lake County Intermediate, and Lake County Jr. High and High Schools, graduating in 1981. At LCHS, he excelled in wrestling and football and lettered in both sports. George attended Western State College in Gunnison, CO, graduating with honors and a Bachelor Degree in Biology in 1986. He attended medical school at the University of Texas, Galveston, and was awarded his MD in 1992. He completed a five year surgery residency in San Antonio, TX, in 1997, and married his wife Brenda Montiel that same year. George began a surgery practice in Pampa, TX, but was soon called to serve his country as a U.S. Army surgeon. George 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.
George was an athlete and outdoor enthusiast, and, among other activities, enjoyed mountain climbing and his ascent of Mt. Rainier in 1982. He continued to root for Colorado sports teams wherever he was in the world. He had a quick, mischievous wit, loved cooking and good food, and experiencing new and different cultures. George loved spending time in Leadville and on the Smith Ranch, where he enjoyed visiting with relatives and friends. He will be greatly missed.
George 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; grand-children 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 nephews.  

A funeral mass was held in Pampa, TX, on December 31, 2019. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to PTSD recovery organizations or the Wounded Warriors Project.

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Condolence Booklet

Ronn Kochevar
   Posted Sun January 12, 2020
My sincere condolences to the family and friends of George. Sending gentle prayers and peaceful thoughts to all of you. 🌹

kathy Flores
   Posted Sun January 12, 2020
I am so very sorry for this profound loss. George was a kind, smart and spent his life serving others.... What a beautiful legacy. Please know I hold all of you in my heart and in prayer. Rest In Peace George.

Kimberly Starr (Marriott)
   Posted Mon January 13, 2020
My heartfelt condolences are being sent to your family on the news of his passing. I pray that God will grant you the strength you need to get through this difficult time. The world is less for the loss of this truly kind person. He touched so many lives he will never be forgotten. May he Rest In Peace.

Alesha (Oliver) Lane & family
   Posted Mon January 13, 2020
Our hearts, thoughts, prayers are with your family at this time.

Randy Savoren
   Posted Tue January 14, 2020
My sympathy to your family. As a student athletic trainer at LCHS, I would see George in the training room. He was the definition of STUDENT athlete. He always put his education in front of his athletics. I knew he would go far in life! RIP

Kim Rodriquez
   Posted Tue January 14, 2020
Our sincere condolences for the loss of your brother George. I am so sorry to hear. What an amazing man he was. Suicide is hard to grasp for most of us and even more so for the survivors left to grieve and ask why, is heartbreaking. Please know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers and that you are not alone. You have each other and you have friends and family who deeply care.

Duwayne Ottens
   Posted Wed January 15, 2020
Please accept my sincere condolences. I worked with Doc in Afghanistan from 2013 to 2017. He was great to work with, and I really learned a lot from him. One of the things I enjoyed the most during my time in Afghanistan was roasting coffee beans with Doc. We sure made some awesome coffee. I'll treasure those memories forever.

   Posted Wed January 15, 2020
To say I enjoyed every second we worked together these past seven years would be an understatement. Great coffee, always big laughs, and a million memories. I had and still have unconditional respect for you. You will be greatly missed.

Dante Cummings
   Posted Wed January 15, 2020
I will miss the many crazy conversations at Sullivan or intense debates about life, Rest In Peace Ol Soldier

James Dean
   Posted Wed January 15, 2020
My deepest condolences to the Family.

Doc Smith was greatly respected by all of the lads in Afghanistan that he took care of. Doc's knowledge, wit and humor is near legendary.

RIP Doc, you are missed already.

   Posted Wed January 15, 2020
Please accept mine and my families condolences on the passing of Doc Smith. Like many I work with him while he was in Afghanistan. He was a very knowledgeable Dr who shared his experiences and knowledge with everyone he worked with. Had many conversations with him and many laughs. Go rest high upon that mountain Doc Smith, you will be missed by many.

James a redden
   Posted Wed January 15, 2020
My most sincere condolence doc was a amazing boss more that that he was a amazing mentor and friend I worked with him for 6 years my hart hurts for the family and friends left behind his loss will be felt for a long time to come Rest In Peace my friend god speed and go with love

John R. Zentgraf
   Posted Wed January 15, 2020
I'm a first year (1L) law student at Vermont Law and am here, in part, to George's efforts. I was anxious to leave Kabul and start the second-half of my life, but I began to doubt myself terribly. "Doc," encouraged me to stick to the plan and made a point of checking-up on me from time to time. I owe you one, George. Thank you.

My sincerest condolences to the family.

Jonathan Brown
   Posted Wed January 15, 2020
I worked with Dr Smith for 5 years in Afghanistan. I was very sad to hear he had passed away. He was a kind and brilliant man. He has a very special place in our hearts. He will surely be missed. My deepest condolences to his family.

Rajeeb Raj Thapaliya
   Posted Wed January 15, 2020
I have worked with Dr Smith in afghanistan for two years,he was our best leader who always in favour of staff and patient.I am deeply saddened by the news of your loss. I pray that God will grant you the strength. My most sincere condolences.

Justin Fahn
   Posted Wed January 15, 2020
I have worked with Doc Smith here in Afghanistan the last three years. I am sad to have heard this news and feel for the family. Prayers go out to all.

Amanda R.
   Posted Wed January 15, 2020
I worked with Doc in Baghdad from 2008-2012. He genuinely cared for the well being of the people with whom he worked, and watched out for a great many of us. He was kind and witty, and touched so many lives. The loss of such a good man is heartbreaking. May God embrace you in comfort in this difficult time. My prayers and condolences to your family.

Richard Titus
   Posted Wed January 15, 2020
I had the privilege to work with Dr. Smith in Iraq. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends worldwide.

   Posted Wed January 15, 2020
Doc, so sad to hear this news of your passing. My condolences to your family. A great spirit you were, and your conversations always provided so much knowledge on many matters.
You will definitely be missed.
“ Attention in Deck”!
Scott G.

Nancy M
   Posted Wed January 15, 2020
Doc Smith was the best! I know he made a huge difference in our camp in Iraq and Afghanistan. It truly saddens me to find out this news, prayers to his family for God's comfort and healing. RIP Doc

Brian Davis
   Posted Thu January 16, 2020
Doc Smith never was a fan of lead mitigation.

Rob Smith
   Posted Thu January 16, 2020
We are all sorry for the loss of George. He was a wonderful person who will be missed by many greatly. George was a true professional as "Doc" and a great friend, admired and respected by many. I will always remember "Doc Smith's" passion within his profession as an MD. My heart goes out to George and his beloved family during this difficult period of loss. God bless. - Rob Smith

Marque J. Daniels
   Posted Thu January 16, 2020
My condolences to the family. Doc was a great man and help me keep my sanity while we were deployed. Thank you for all you did and again, my condolences for the family.

   Posted Fri January 17, 2020
He was our doctor in Iraq while I was there from 08-09. I am very saddened to read this. God Bless his family. Everyone held him and continue to in high regard. He made huge sacrifices and saved countless lives. He will never be forgotten. Thank you sir.

Lynne (Fuchtman) Denman
   Posted Sun January 19, 2020
My heart is broken. I knew the Smith family very well. My memories are of Leadville, of snow, of innocence, of happiness, and of youth. And then we grew up and Life captured us. Little bonfires popping up when we least expected them. And now, for some of us, definitely for George, the kind of fire with arms too long to jump back from.
I wish you peace because I know George is at peace. And I wish you love, because I still have love that springs from many, many years ago and it has never diminished.
Lynne (Fuchtman) Denman

Carolyn Barr Alexander
   Posted Sun January 19, 2020
George ,Bless you my boy ! You touched many lives as a family member, community member , a friend ,classmate, team member ,physician,officer, mentor & comrade ! Each of us shares something unique & you certainly did! We are grateful for your presence in our lives & will always remember you as a good soul , easy to love & enjoy . CBA

Padam Chand, MD
   Posted Mon January 20, 2020
I am truly sorry to hear the loss of Dr. George Smith. He was very nice person and efficient doctor. I got opertunity to work wirh him in Afghanistan for five years.
Please accept my condolences and may my prayers help comfort you and hasten the journey of his soul to Heaven.

Katrina Smith
   Posted Tue January 21, 2020
Sending my love and condolences to the Smith family. Hoping you find solace in knowing that George is resting in peace.

joseph drabinski
   Posted Tue February 04, 2020
On behalf of the Drabinski family I would like to extend our heart felt love to George's family and all the Smiths wherever they may be.
I have vivid fond memories of George from childhood visits both in Southern California and at the Smith Ranch where we reveled in each others company.
The last time we talked he thanked me for showing him how to throw a curveball when we were kids, which is funny because to this day I really can't throw a curveball.
RIP George and you can play on my team anytime.

Steve Harkrader
   Posted Mon April 20, 2020
To the Smith Family and friends –

I had the good fortune of meeting George and his family in the spring of 1983. I was traveling after graduation from Ohio State University and found my way to Leadville through the urging of my cousin John Chester who had become friends with the Smiths that spring. The Smiths took me in for several months and George and I became quick friends. It was just the grounding a new arrival to the Rocky Mountains would need.
I was interested in mountaineering, so George introduced me to his friend Dale Arvidson. Between ranch chores and carpenter projects the three of us managed to fit in several adventures. Perhaps the most memorable was our attempt to climb Mt Rainier that summer. With the addition of Dale’s friend Ralph (I’m sorry I can’t recall his last name) the four of us made our way to Mt. Rainier National Park. We had a couple days to see the sights, we practiced our climbing techniques and then made a two-day attempt to reach the summit, climbing mostly in the predawn hours of the second morning. While we did not make the summit, it was the type of adventure that strengthens friendships and leaves a lasting impression, especially on a young man fresh from Ohio. George and Dale, thank you for that trip.
While I did not really get to spend all that much time with George, I will miss him. He was one of those souls who made the world a better place. Even though it was a long time ago, I still think of George and the whole Smith Family and I am thankful for the positive influence that brief time in Leadville has had on my life.
Peace and goodwill to the Smith Family far and wide, I hope you are all well.

Steve Harkrader
McCall, Idaho

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