Aubrey E. Smith, age 88, of Cape Coral, Florida passed away on Friday, September 8, 2018 at Hope Hospice in Cape Coral with his wife, Marsha Smith by his side.
He was born December 25, 1929 in St. Petersburg, Florida to Eurie Smith and Versie Mae Gunter. Two year old, Troy Lee welcomed the new arrival. Both boys attended local grade and junior high schools, and Aubrey graduated from St. Petersburg High School in 1948. At Florida Beacon College, he received his BA of Theology in 1951. He joined the US Army in 1953, going to the US Army Chaplains School at Ft. Slocum, New York.
In 1950, he married Ardyce Leaming in Des Moines, Iowa. They had three sons, Aubrey Randall, Allan Troy, and Stephen Michael. The couple divorced in 1967.
Aubrey served overseas in Korea, Okinawa, Vietnam and Germany. Stateside assignments were Ft. Bragg, NC, Ft. Campbell, KY, and Ft. Lewis, WA. Most of his service was with paratrooper units, including the 82nd Airborne, 101st Airborne and Special Forces. Awards received were the Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Air Medal.
Aubrey retired in 1974, returned to St. Petersburg and opened a guidance counseling office. During this time he became reacquainted with his cousin, Marsha Gunter Merkle, and they were united in marriage on December, 27, 1975.
In early 1978, the Smiths decided their town was growing too rapidly for them and sought out several small towns in the west. They did a home exchange with a couple from Shoup, ID for the winter and liked it so much they bought three acres the next year. Operating Ramshead Cafe for a season allowed them to begin building their "dream" log home.
Aubrey loved the outdoors, especially steelhead fishing and bird watching. He hunted a few years, but decided that he would rather watch them from a distance than to work that hard bringing them back. He took pride in his large lawn and perennial gardens. He was always quick to share his knowledge of plants and trees with newcomers and give them starts on flowers.
I 1987, they began Smith House B&B. Aubrey was a master at keeping all the systems running to keep guests happy and returning. After 10 years they decided to go south for the winter and found St. George Island, FL to be the perfect place. Aubrey became a realtor and enjoyed meeting people from all over the country.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Troy, and parents. Survivors include his wife of 43 years, Marsha A. Smith; sons, Aubrey Randall of St. Petersburg, Allan Troy (Lina) of Seattle, WA, Stephen Michael (Judy) of Cape Coral, FL; step-children, David John Merkle (Kim) of St. Petersburg, FL, Deborah Basquit of Cape Coral, FL; sisters in law, Carol Smith Johnson, of Seymour, TN, and Lynda Gunter Sanchez (George) of Palm Harbor, FL; grandsons, Jason and Travis Smith of Cape Coral, FL, Erik and Aubrey Smith of Seattle, WA, and step-grandchildren, Joshua Merkle of St. Petersburg, FL, Sophia Merkle of St. Petersburg, FL, Tabitha Murphy of St. Petersburg, FL, Frank Hughes (Cheyenne) of Cape Coral, FL, Alexander Basquit of St. Petersburg, FL, Andrew Basquit of Cape Coral, FL and four great-grandchildren as well as numerous nieces and nephews, plus his two fur babies, Migo and Happy. Aubrey had a way of communing with his pets (mostly dogs) and grieved when he lost Sadie on May 25, 2018.
"To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." 2 Corinthians 5:8
"I go to prepare a place for you." John 14
Three words that sum up the life of Aubrey Smith: Integrity, Giving, Compassion.