Smith Family Honors Patriarch with Tree

The Dwayne Smith family gathers near a tree planted at Sunset Beach in his memory. Left to right, Alexzandra Schroeder, granddaughter, Bellevue, Neb,, holding Keesa; Cara Craig, daughter, Yale; Jill Schroeder, daughter, Lake Panorama; Lora Hacker, daughter, Denver; Donna Smith, wife, Lake Panorama, holding Gunner; Mark Hacker, son-in-law, Denver; and Veronica Craig, granddaughter, Des Moines.Dwayne “Smitty” Smith is shown near a flame maple tree at Lake Panorama’s west entrance. He loved the bright red fall leaves of the tree, and had his picture taken near it for many years. He passed away November 11, 2018. A new aspen tree was planted in late April near the ninth hole on the Panorama West golf course. The tree was purchased by a group of friends living in the Sunset Beach neighborhood, and honors both Dwayne “Smitty” Smith and Ray Russell. Russell passed away in December 2016. For 10 years, Ray and his wife Barb lived a few houses away from Sunset Beach, before moving to Arizona.

By Susan Thompson 

Dwayne “Smitty” Smith and his wife Donna lived across the street from Lake Panorama’s Sunset Beach for 18 years, until his passing last November. In late April, one of Smitty’s favorite trees was donated by the Smith family and planted at Sunset Beach in his memory. 

The family chose a flame maple tree to honor their patriarch. “One of these trees is planted along the lake’s west entrance, and Dwayne loved how the leaves turn bright red in the fall,” Donna says. “He always wanted to stop and have his picture taken with that tree, and we have many years worth of photos of him there.” 

The couple was married 57 years, and have three daughters and six grandchildren. A celebration of life open house was held May 5 at the Panorama West clubhouse. Family members wore special T-shirts that sported a “thumbs-up” symbol on the front, honoring Smitty’s habit of using his thumb to express approval. 

The back of the shirts feature an image depicting a Colorado mountain scene surrounded by the words “Smitty’s Camp Runamuk.” The family lived in Colorado for a number of years, and used the phrase Camp Runamuk to describe their many adventures. A license plate on Donna’s car also carries that name. 

Donna can look out the front window of her home, see the newly planted flame maple at Sunset Beach, and be reminded of many good family times with Smitty at the helm.