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Ira J. Smith Jr.

June 14, 1928 May 21, 2020
Ira J. Smith Jr.
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Obituary for Ira J. Smith Jr.

Ira “Bud" Joseph Smith 91, of Oxford Michigan passed from this life into eternal life on May 21, 2020 at Royal Oak MI Beaumont Hospital from cardiac complications.

Bud was born the youngest of three boys on Flag Day, June 14, 1928 at home in Detroit Michigan. He is preceded in death by: his parents Ira J. and Milda Smith; brothers Robert and Thomas Smith. He is survived by his wife Marguerite Ann Marx-Smith; their four children: Debra Smith-Siens, Kevin Smith (Lynette), Shawn Smith and Shannon Smith-Morrison (Michael); grandchildren: Thomas Siens (Jessica), Brian Smith, Kristen Bourne (Brian), Bradley Morrison (Stacy), Eric Smith, Matthew Morrison (Cassy) and Alyssa Morrison; great grandchildren: Drake, Isabella, Taylan, Emily, Luke, Megan, Marissa, Adelaide and Nora.

As a child, Bud developed a strong interest working in his grandfather’s hardware store on Greenfield in Detroit, which carried over into many facets of his life, such as building garden-arbors and repairing and rebuilding antiques. Humbled by his wisdom, one had to dig deep to hear stories of his natural athletic talent on display in areas such as swimming and track & field where he and his teammates held the high school mile relay-record for many years.

He met his true life’s treasure, soulmate, and center to his universe, Marguerite, at Thomas M. Cooley High School in Detroit in a jewelry class when she was just 14. He also delivered mail for a summer and Marguerite's home was at the tail end of his route and she would serve him hot chocolate and they would talk and get to know one another. Their beautiful marriage at Rosedale Lutheran Church on Grand River in Detroit May 27, 1950 neared 70 years of celebration this year. Bud was the ultimate provider working at GM Photographic in Detroit and the Warren Tech Center retiring after 43 years of service.

Bud was a faithful Detroit sports fan and with his wife developed an infectious passion for the antiquing business as well as gardening, birding and genealogy. He enjoyed traveling in the US, Canada and Europe with his family and together they created many lasting memories. Bud was able to identify and define success early on in life through family importance and relationships and was so often the focal point to his messaging. He was a man that embodied so many of life’s positive ethical and moral traits such as love, commitment, humility, discipline, perseverance and frugality to name just a few. The lives he touched extend far and wide, and many people are forever grateful to have known him.

Celebration of life to be forthcoming in the future.

Please send any donations to Michigan Audubon 2310 Science Parkway, Suite 200, Okemos Michigan 48864 include in the memo: In Memory of Ira J. Smith

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This is my Life, Ira ( Bud ) Smith

I was born at home June 14, 1928 on Mark Twain St. Detroit, Michigan.
I had 2 brothers.

My ancestors were of English, Irish and German decent and they came to America around the mid-1850s.

Went to Burns school about 1/2 mile away, no busses back then for the schools. I graduated from Burns January 27, 1943 and started at Cooley High School in Detroit 1943-1947.
Some of the games we played outside usually in the street: kick the can, hide and seek, red light/green light, tag and baseball. My dad paid for and replaced a lot of windows we broke when playing ball in the street. Indoors, we always had a game of monopoly going on.

On Friday nights we went to my German grandparent’s (who’s families came to this country through Monroe MI). They had a hardware store on Greenfield, north of Michigan Avenue in Detroit. My parents, grandparents, aunt and uncle (my aunt was my mother’s sister) played poker. My parents would leave me there for the weekend and pick me up Sunday night. I would help my grandfather in the hardware store on Saturdays. I had such fun setting up the toys for sale for the Christmas Holidays on a table in the store. When I was about ten our family, plus grandparents, had Christmas at my aunt and uncle’s who lived in Dearborn about one mile from the hardware. We all went back to the hardware store for the evening. My grandparents lived behind the store. Later that night my uncle, brother, cousin and I went back to my aunt and uncle’s to sleep. We were sleeping upstairs when my brother woke everyone up saying the house was on fire. My uncle who had a lot to drink just walked downstairs through the fire, opened the outside door and walked outside. When he opened the door to the outside the fire just shot upstairs so my brother put me on the second floor window and said “Jump”. I looked down and next thing I knew he pushed me. Luck was on my side as there was a snow pile I landed in. My cousin jumped from the back room window and broke her ankle. The house was a total loss. Our pillow cases were brown except where our heads had been. I guess my other brother had gone home with my parents so he wasn't there.

About every two weeks my grandfather would say, “Buddy, let’s go get some money.” He would put me in his car (Whippet) and we would drive to people’s houses that owed him money from things they bought at the hardware store. People would buy things and write it on a pad with their name.

From the ages of 9 to 11, I would go house to house selling silk flowers that my grandmother made into small corsages to pin on dresses. I delivered a small newspaper called the Strathmore News. I now had a bike that my older brother bought me from a police auction (paid $5.00) with thin tires and no fenders but a bike that I rode a lot. In grade school we had dancing lessons in the gym every other week. A band and dance teacher was furnished by Henry Ford. When we stayed at school for lunch we would have such items as heart, liver, tongue or some other part of the animal. I had saved some money plus I sold my Lionel train and everything that went with it (bad choice) as I had a lot of equipment that my dad had bought me and I bought a 4x5 Voigtlander camera which I could change into a enlarger to make black and white pictures and the greatest fun was to put people’s heads on animals.

When I started Cooley (High School) I took two classes where I was the only boy in the class, typing and salesmanship. I tried to change these classes but both teachers said they needed a male so I stayed. I was at a football game, seated in the bleachers with my friend Bob S. when I noticed this very attractive young girl walking along the football fence which happened to be Rita (Marguerite) Marx who I didn't meet until later. I had signed up for a craft class and the first day of class who walks in but Marguerite who had signed up for the same class. Our first assignment was to make a pair of wool gloves and since Marguerite was left handed she had a hard time doing the stitching so I helped her and we became friends, 1946. That Christmas I got a job delivering mail and to my surprise she lived on one of the streets nearby (Coyle Street Detroit, MI). Since her house was the 3rd from last house on my route she would make me hot chocolate. My father would go to Cleveland, Ohio every December for a meeting at the large wholesale hardware company he worked for; my first date with Marguerite was December 19, 1946 when I asked her if she would come with me as I drove my dad to the train station.

I was on the track team at Cooley high school. I ran the 100 yard dash and high and low hurdles. Our track team won the city championship in 1946. Our hurdle team (of which I was a member) set a new city record in the low hurdle relay event. After graduation I worked at a photo studio in Detroit called Hillbilly Snap Shooter. During the summer one week my friends Howard S., Bob S., Chuck S., Jim R. and I went to East Tawas for a few days. As young people do, we just horsed around wrestling in the grass at East Tawas. The next day we all went horseback riding, however sitting on the horses we sweated a bit. The next day three of us had bad cases of poison ivy, Chuck, Howard and myself. My mother took us to the doctor and we received shots. We would go to the local bowling alley and bowl for 10 cents a game however we had to set our own pins. One day a man came in and asked if he could keep score for us, we said ok. After we finished he said he would like to buy us all a hamburger and shake. Since we didn't have much money, we said that would be just fine. His name was Jack J. He met my mother the next day. He called a couple weeks later and asked my mother if I could help him build a boat-house. He had a summer home on Lake Huron, she agreed. He picked me up and another young man that was an elevator operator at General Motors. We worked on the boat house for a couple days. We met his daughter and her friend. Her friend was the daughter of the owner of Truan Candies. After completing the boat house he took all four of us for lunch at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. He asked me what my plans were after graduation. I had no plans so he asked if I would like to work at Kodak in New York. Since I had no plans I said sounds good to me. He sent me on a train to New York on Friday night, arriving Saturday morning. I was picked up at the station and taken to Eastman Kodak were I was given a tour. After the tour they asked if I would like to work in the lens plant and I agreed. My salary would be $37.50 a week. There was one problem, I had met Marguerite and I didn't want to be that far away and after writing down what my expenses would be I decided I would call the next morning and thank them for the offer but I decided to stay in Michigan. Next, Mr. J sent me to General Motors Photographic Department where I started as a messenger at $150.00 a month. This was July 1947. When I worked at the small photo shop, Joe Clark Hillbilly Snap Shooter, part of the job was drying photo prints and Joe and I went to Hudson's Department Store and Vernors after hours to make advertising photos. My family sold the house on Mark Twain around 1948 and we moved to a house on Strathmore which was a block over from Mark Twain. I saved some money and bought my first car, a 1950 blue Ford. I bought the car from Andy M. a friend of my brother who sold new cars. I believe it was around $950.00 dollars.

One day Marguerite and I went to Square Lake near Pontiac where I asked her to marry me. I had bought a diamond ring and she said YES. However when we got home and Marguerite showed the ring to her mother, her mother would not let her wear the ring. Marguerite would carry the ring in her purse and after we were out of the house she would put the ring on and take it off before going back in the house. We got married May 27, 1950 at Rosedale Lutheran Church located on Grand River. We had to buy everything. At that time Marguerite worked in a bakery so she had them make a wedding cake. I ordered flowers which were to have a candle in each bouquet but they left them out. Marguerite’s Brides maids were Lois M. S., Dee K., Elaine W. and my best man was Bob S. (who was later killed during the Korean War), Howard S., Jim R. and Chuck B. For our honeymoon we went to our little family cabin in East Tawas. We had very little money so we couldn’t go on a real honeymoon. Marguerite got a job at AAA in the David Broderick Tower downtown Detroit on Witherell St. We had started looking for a place to live before we got married with no luck. One day I got a call from Marguerite saying there was a place advertised which sounded nice so I asked her to take her brother Bill and go look. It had a back entrance upstairs with everything included but, the whole upstairs was on one 15 watt fuse. We took it because it only cost $40.25 a month. We paid the family downstairs and he paid the owner which covered upstairs and downstairs. We had nothing but problems with the guy downstairs. It would take pages to tell all the things we went thru with him. The street was Linsdale, near Livernois in Detroit. After we repaired all the windows we took 7 layers of wallpaper and paint off the walls and painted the whole place. It was a nice little place. We dug up the whole backyard and re-seeded it plus put in a new fence. About a year later the woman next door had a vacancy upstairs and asked if we would like to rent it, $50.00 plus utilities. We moved in and another story of this place, Debra was born when we had the first flat and also lived in the second flat. We now lived in a corner place and the owner of this house used to come home and burn empty boxes from the meat market next to the alley. They moved and he asked if I wanted the job of burning the boxes, it paid $5.00 a month and I said yes, we could use the extra money. Two little black girls would ask Marguerite if they could take Debra for rides in the stroller. The upstairs flat that we rented had a coal furnace and the owner had put a stoker on the furnace which fed coal when needed. In 1954 we started to look for our own house and after months of looking we found one in Royal Oak, MI that we were able to afford, a new-build, all brick ranch, 960 sq. ft, three bedrooms. The house cost about $13,000. Today , in 2017 that same house goes for over $200,000. We sold the house for $15,000 in 1960 and bought a new-build house in Warren, MI for $26,500, four bedroom, 2100 sq. ft.

Marguerite then got a job with Scotty, the person who built our Warren house. We lived in this house until 2004. Our 4 children all went to Mott High School in Warren. During our years in Warren Marguerite got a scholarship to Wayne State University. She got her degree in English and writing and got a job in charge of the library at Ford & Earl Design on Mound Rd. I worked a lot of overtime as we had little extra. During our time in Warren we traveled to California, New York, many southern states, Montreal Canada, Europe, England and many other places of interest. In 2004 we built a house in Oxford MI in the Waterstone Complex, a 3 bedroom ranch with 2100 sq. ft. As one gets older we look back a lot and wonder if we did it right. I do know that we have 4 great children.

Growing up on Mark Twain we had a collie and two small dogs named Mike & Ike. Growing up with our 4 children we had a collie named Princess, Tina a small great dog, Keely the cat, Dasie a cat, Guy a cat and the best little kitten any one could ask for HONEY, HE KEEPS US YOUNG.
Backing up, when I was 14 years old I got a job for the summer at the post office and all I needed to show them was my birth certificate. When I asked my mother for a copy she said they never got one when I was born so we called the doctor that delivered me at our house and he filed one (14 years late).

We lived at 6337 Linsdale Detroit MI 1950 -1952.
We lived at 6331 Linsdale Detroit MI 1952-1954 next door from first place.
We lived on Huron Street, Royal Oak, MI 1954-1964
We lived on Ohmer Drive, Warren MI 1964-2004
We now live in Oxford MI since 2004

Life Events:
Winter time, as a boy about 10 years old I would pray for Snow as we had two houses on our street that I would shovel their sidewalk and driveway for 10 cents each time.
Since our house had a vacant lot behind us my dad put up a cement stone fence (he had a new driveway put in so we used the old cement pieces to build the fence, however, some rats used to run on the fence and I would look out my bedroom window and since my dad had bought me a 22 rifle I would shoot the rats from my window.

When we were about 12 years old my friend Bob S. and I would get hungry so we would make a list of items that we were looking for and we would tell the neighbors we were on a scavenger hunt. Some of the items would be food such as fruit or tuna or a ham sandwich. We lucked out some times.

I worked at Baumgarders food store after school on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday for $8.00 a week.

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