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Gene Smith

Gene R. Smith

Thursday, May 15th, 1941 - Friday, January 8th, 2021
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Gene Ronald Smith died at home in Mitchell, Nebraska, of late stage Parkinson's disease on January 8, 2021, while on hospice care and with his wife, LeTisha, and daughter, Aurora, by his side.
Gene was born in Billings, Montana May 15, 1941. His Grandfather had a mortuary business, and his father moved to Cody, Wyoming when Gene was four, to open a mortuary there.
A favorite pastime, learned from his father, was going arrow-head hunting. He began to appreciate the archaeological significance of artifacts, read books on archaeological sites and findings throughout the world, and dreamed of one day becoming an archaeologist. As a high school student, he discovered a nearly complete bison in a cut-bank west of Buffalo Bill Reservoir, and in digging it out he completed a science fair project earning him recognition of the Wyoming Archaeological Society, which awarded him their first scholarship.
Gene was still a high school student when he noticed a cave shelter which he felt sure could be a significant site. The cave became known as the Mummy Cave site that was later excavated by the Whitney gallery under the direction of Harold McCracken. Gene was humbled and pleased in 2002, when Dan Witter credited Gene with the discovery.
Gene continued throughout his life to hold archaeology very dear but acquired his degree in Social Service. He was the director of the Powder River Counsel on Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Gillette, Wyoming, and remained in private practice as a drug and alcohol abuse counselor for many years. He was very active in Alcoholics Anonymous and completed 49 years of recovery in March of 2020.
Gene had a special fondness for antiques, and having lectured on Western Art at the Whitney Gallery in Cody, he and his second wife, artist LeTisha Bonar Smith owned four different combined art and antique galleries over the past 28 years, and together, adopted and raised a second family.
Gene is survived by his wife LeTisha, five children, three step-children, and five grandchildren.
As per Gene's wishes, and due to Covid-19 restrictions, the family plans to gather outside this next spring/summer to hold a family memorial, sharing stories and memories of Gene.
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