"The Duke", A Beloved Grandfather

This isn't my typical blog post about celebrations like weddings, engagements, or new babies; but it is one about the celebration of a man that was very dear to me. Mostly this post is for my family and family friends, but I thought it would be nice to share here on my blog for everyone to see. Recently my Grandpa, Ray Smith, passed away. It has been a hard time for my family as we all loved him very dearly. Having my entire family come together for the funeral was nothing short of a miracle. We have over 100 people in our family now, all starting with Ray and JoAnne (my Grandpa and Grandma). I loved seeing everyone and sharing the memories we had of Grandpa. He truly was one of the greatest men I have ever known.

Though it has been a sad time for my family, there has been great comfort in knowing that we will see Grandpa Ray again. For me, there is still the sadness in missing him, but there is also great joy knowing he is happy. In Alma 40:12 it states, "those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care and sorrow." This wonderful scripture has given my family peace and comfort knowing that Grandpa is doing swell!

I took this photo of my uncle David with his spotted draft team pulling the hearse past the Brigham City LDS Temple. I thought it was the perfect photo to represent my Grandpa that day. He was going to a better place, but arriving in style! That's pretty much how it always was.


The kids and grand-kids call Grandpa Ray "The Duke" referencing John Wayne. Grandpa was a simple guy and a man of few words. He was a hardworking man with great integrity (just as John Wayne was, right?), hence the title. We always used to say, "Don't disappoint The Duke!" that phrase motivated us to always do our best whenever he asked us to help with projects, (which was an honor by the way, he never asked for help!). We respected and trusted him and knew that he must trust us too if he asked for help.

Well, for the funeral and viewing I volunteered to capture some memories of the day. Though funerals aren't a typical celebration, they are still a celebration of the life and legacy of that person. That's exactly what it was. I don't think I have been to a more beautiful funeral filled with love, laughter, tears, and memories. I think we all made The Duke proud :)


I couldn't resist sharing some of the old family photos of my Grandpa in this post. They are too good to leave out. He was so handsome! No wonder that over 60 years ago my Grandma said yes to that first date!

After the viewing we all headed to the cemetery following the vintage horse drawn hearse. It was so unique and completely appropriate to represent my Grandpa. I'm sure he loved it ;) Afterward we all gathered to eat then got a big group family photo, we hardly fit in the church gym!

I thought this quote was so perfect for this occasion. My Grandpa Ray will forever be a treasure in my heart.

"Don't disappoint the Duke" - Love you Grandpa.

This video was made by my wonderful cousin Alyssa! This is a tribute to our dear Grandpa Smith. He was a husband, father, grandpa and friend. 106 families members and more friends gathered together to celebrate his life. It was a beautiful ceremony put on by his talented children.

Photography by: Heidi Randall Music: Garth Smith

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