OMAK A local family is seeking donations of airline miles to help bring relatives to town for the funeral of a former Omak resident and Army veteran.
Monty Smith, 63, died of cancer in Germany last Tuesday.
His nieces, Lori Covington and Jill Scott, have spearheaded the effort to collect airline miles to help bring Smith’s daughters and grandsons to Omak so he can be buried alongside his parents at the Omak Memorial Cemetery.
He had lived in Germany for more than 40 years.
Local resident Judy Smith, the wife of Monty’s older brother Bill, said he remained close to his family despite the distance.
“He was a good guy and he loved his family,” Judy Smith said.
“Monty was hard to get to know because he was so extremely shy, but he had a wonderful sense of humor. He was always telling people jokes and making people laugh, and he had the German accent to go along with it.”
During his service in the Army, Smith was stationed in Germany.
It was there he got married and raised his family.
In his time since the Army, he only returned to Omak twice. Health concerns prevented him from flying as he got older.
He had lived overseas for most of his life, Judy Smith said.
“He always wanted to come back and live here,” Judy Smith said. “But he wouldn’t leave Germany because of his two children and grandchildren.”
Monty Smith’s three brothers — Melvin and Dennis, from Caldwell, Idaho, and Bill, from Omak — flew to Germany to be by their younger sibling’s side as he died.
Monty Smith was conscious for a while as the four brothers visited, before slipping into a coma, Judy Smith said.
It was the first time in more than 20 years the four brothers were all together.
Monty Smith’s body was cremated Thursday in Germany.
The family is planning to have a military service as soon as all the arrangements can be made, said Covington, who is the general manager at Cowgirl Coffee, 630 Okoma Drive.
Monty Smith was “sweet, sensitive, big-hearted and very shy,” Covington said. “He loved his family dearly.”
He graduated from Omak High School in 1968 and enlisted in the U.S. Army in September 1969.
After completing his tour of duty in the Army, Monty Smith went to work for Hewlett-Packard in Germany until he was forced into retirement due to his health.