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MALTA – Robert A. Smith, Sr., 71, a retired rancher, passed away on Saturday, September 9, 2017, at the Phillips County Hospital in Malta of natural causes.

    A graveside service will be held Wednesday, September 13, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. at the Malta Cemetery, with a lunch reception on the terrace at the Stockman Bar following the service. Condolences for the family may be left at Kirkwood Funeral Home of Malta is overseeing arrangements.

    Robert A. Smith, Sr., was born on November 2, 1945, in Malta. He was raised on the Milk River Valley with his older siblings; 3 sisters, Evalee, Mary, and Fay and his brother George. Robert grew up riding horses and raising animals. He enjoyed sports in school and passed that passion and athletic ability to his children and grandchildren.

    Robert married Linda Viola Allery in 1963 and together they had five children: Laura, Lona, Lisa, Robert Jr., and Lexie. Robert Jr. passed away at the tender age of 3 and the loss of their young and only son did take a toll on the family. Robert and Linda raised 4 girls on the Milk River and Assiniboine Creek. Robert supported his girls attending many rodeos, basketball and volleyball games, and track meets. The family worked hard together raising cattle and hay; and a variety of animals (deer, premature calves, piglets, bunnies, guinea pigs, hamsters, and occasionally frogs!) found safety and love in the Smith family home. Robert impressed upon his family the values of strong work ethics, honesty, and how to be resourceful.

    Robert’s grandchildren recall spending quality time with their grandfather including summers and Christmas at the lake, his love of fishing (and have many fish tales), playing cribbage, the old blue Buick, ice cream floats, cute stray dogs, hunting the big one, his teasing and wit and great one-liners, but most importantly the time he spent with them. In the past few years Robert also enjoyed his miniature donkeys and mules (sometimes too many) and the family has also participated in this endeavor and have a few mini jackass stories to share.

    Robert was preceded in death by his son Robert Jr., his wife Linda, and his brother George. Robert is survived by his sisters: Evalee Bebee of Havre, Mary (Harvey) Smith of Malta, and Fay Smith of Arizona; his children: Laura (Bill) Pankratz of Malta, Lona (Jeff) Darrah of Malta, Lisa (Boyd) Gackle of Texas, and Lexie (Tom) Pankratz of Montana City. Robert is also survived by his grandchildren: Trever (Celena) and Kelly Pankratz; Curtis (Tricia), Shanay (Adam) Haggag, and Cru Darrah; Colter, Charli, and Cody Gackle; and Elle (Trent) Gahl, Shane, and Justin Pankratz; and 3 great-grandchildren Zoey, Lydia, Reagan and one on the way!

Guest Book

From: Diane F Smith

My condolences to all of Roberts family. He is at peace again with all his loved ones that went before him.
He will be remembered and missed by all that knew him.

From: Oral Allen

My condolences on the loss of your dad. May you find strength in this time of sorrow.

From: Lorri Schafer

Wishing you our deepest condolences during this difficult time. Hoping you are able to enjoy the memories you had with your dad and all the great times. Every time I go fencing I remember his patience as I tried and tried and tried to pound a staple in that fence. Now we just use steel and I don't have to pound staples. I like to think he gave me the love of the ranching life as I always loved going to your house and living in the open county. Again, wishing you comfort during this time.

From: Larry and Susan Matthews

Our sympathy goes to all the family. Robert was a hard worker and very likable guy. He and Linda raised a wonderful family. He was so proud of all his girls and rightly so, they are all capable strong intelligent gals that can do anything they put their mind to. God bless Robert and wrap his arms around all his family at this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Larry and Susan Matthews

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