Cover photo for Walter W. Smith's Obituary
Walter W. Smith Profile Photo
1932 Walter 2023

Walter W. Smith

January 20, 1932 — November 12, 2023

Walter W. Smith, 91 years old, a resident of Pioneer Home in Fergus Falls went home to his Lord on Sunday November 12, 2023.

Walter and his twin brother Wallace were born on January 20, 1932. They were welcomed home by their parents, Ruth (Duryea) and W. Paul Smith and older brother Robert, in Livingston, New Jersey. Walter graduated from high school in Sussex, NJ in 1950.

On August 30, 1952, Walter married the love of his life, Arlene Wagner, in Jersey City, New Jersey. They were married for 56 years until her passing in 2008. Walter and Arlene lived in New Jersey and Connecticut until they moved to Fergus Falls, Minnesota in June 1973. In addition to Fergus Falls, they lived in Underwood for 14 years, before Walter moved back to Fergus Falls.

To say that Walter had just a work ethic is an understatement. From his early years in life, he put in many hours helping out farmers. Which instilled a love of all aspects of farming; from raising animals, planting crops, trees and growing huge gardens, resulting in harvesting so many bountiful amounts of produce that he often times donated large amounts to the community. On Good Friday, one could often find Walter planting his sweet peas and potatoes. Sometimes this occurred with him clearing some snow first. If more snow was received after his planting, his comment was, “it doesn’t get any better than this, as this snow fall is called poor man’s fertilizer!” Besides farming, in Connecticut, Walter worked many years as a milkman, leaving early in the morning and delivering glass bottles of milk and other dairy products to many households. In Minnesota, Walter started his employment working for the former Fergus Falls State Hospital dairy as a Herdsman. After the closure of the dairy, his next employment was driving trucks for Daggett Trucking of Frazee and Gerald Evenson Trucking in Pelican Rapids. He next started a 36-year employment at Productive Alternations teaching individuals how to make products out of wood. Walter worked full-time in this woodworking position, retiring at the young age of 82. In addition to working full time, Walter also owned and operated The Bear’s Den Store. He always had a strong fondness for door-to-door sales delivery. In addition to delivering milk, he also sold Sara Coventry Jewelry, Amway, and ending his sales deliveries with Watkins products, which he distributed for many years.

Even with all of Walter’s employment, he always had time for his family instilling and teaching about farming, growing gardens, working for what you want and contributing to society. He was a witty man, who was also compassionate and smart, researching various topics to seek the goal of what he was working on; planting something new, doing gunsmith work or which chickens were the best to raise.

Walter also enjoyed fishing and hunting, especially with family members. He was a member of Messiah Lutheran Church, involved in the Church Council and choir. He was also involved with the Fergus Falls Lions Group and Heart O’ Lakes Men’s Chorus Group. Walter always enjoyed music from playing a clarinet in school, singing a tune at any time, listening to music while he drove and leaving a radio on all night out by his garden. When asked why the music all night? He responded, “the deer like to dance at night when no one was watching.”

Walter was an avid walker, having put in countless miles at the Westridge Mall and around town. He also did 2 cancer walks, walking from Underwood to Fergus Falls, raising money for the local cancer center.
Being around family meant the world to Walter, especially to share a meal, go on trip, or just going for a drive.

Preceding him in his death were his wife and best friend, Arlene Smith, his brothers, his parents, sister-in-law, Pat Wolf, and son-in-law, Richard Grenvik. Walter’s survivors include his children, Wesley (Helena) of Seattle, WA, David (Virginia) of Lexington, KY, Jeanne (Donnie) Felch of Wahpeton, ND, Leigh (Tom) Lake of Underwood, Dawn (Randy) Barker of Campbell; grandchildren, Lisa Grenvik, Tim (Regina) Grenvik, Dayna (Craig) Grenvik, Megan (Stuart) Edgerly, James (Danielle) Svendsgaard, Allison (Todd) Smith, Joshua Lake, Mike (Julie) Lake, Tim Lake, Ryan (Vanessa) Field, Megan (Daryl) Kugler, Adam (Megan) Barker, Melissa (Steve) Pitts; 27 great-grandchildren, and a brother-in-law, John Wolf of Toms River, NJ. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Georganne Smith; nieces, Noel and Lori and nephews, Will and Chris, all of Arkansas, and several friends.

The family would like to thank PioneerCare Center for their wonderful caregiving of our father and Knute-Nelson Hospice.

Visitation: 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Thursday, November 16, 2023 at Olson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls, with prayer service at 6:30 p.m. Visitation will resume one-hour prior to the service at the church.
Service: 11:00 a.m. Friday, November 17, 2023 at Messiah Lutheran Church, Underwood, MN.
Clergy: Reverend Tim Collins and Pastor Kevin Clinton
Interment: Messiah Lutheran Church Cemetery, Underwood, MN

Arrangements provided by Olson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls.
Online condolences may be sent to
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Prayer Service

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Starts at 6:30 pm (Eastern time)

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Friday, November 17, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Friday, November 17, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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