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William Matthew “Bill” Smith, July 10, 1929 to January 5, 2017


William Matthew “Bill” Smith, 87 Bill Smith passed away Thursday, January 5, 2017, in the company of his loving family at Big Sky Assisted Living. Bill was born at home in Butte to Matthew and Lulu Smith on July 10, 1929. He attended Webster Garfield and Saint Patrick's Catholic grade schools and graduated from Butte High School in 1948. Bill was a paper boy and a bowling pin setter during his school years, and worked for Murray Motors as a shop boy after graduation. He was drafted into the army in February 1951, serving in Fort Bragg, North Carolina for two years as a company clerk with the rank of corporal during the Korean War.

After his honorable discharge from the Army, Bill started to work as an apprentice pipefitter for the Anaconda Company. He learned his trade quickly, became a journeyman and worked for the Company until its closure in 1983. Bill married the love of his life, Theresa Shea, in September 1958 and they remained happily married for 52 years until her death in February 2011. An avid bowler, Bill bowled in several leagues and received many trophies, attesting to his prowess over the years. Bill continued to bowl well into his golden years, participating in the Arco Retirees and Senior Citizen leagues.

Bill and Theresa had three children, Jack , Mary Ann and Betsy and three grandchildren, Cody, Katie and Kelly Thom. Bill enjoyed many happy hours with his grandchildren, and no one was quite sure who was babysitting whom. Bill was preceded in death by his parents, mother-in-law and father-in-law John “Dago” and Mary Shea, sister and brother-in-law Helen and Stan Benny, brother-in-law Don Best, sister-in-law Bridgie Vercella, nephews Shawn Vercella and TJ Anderson, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Catherine and Ted Bury, son-in-law Doug Thom and daughter-in-law Rose Walker Smith. He is survived by his three children: Jack Smith of Dublin, Ohio, Mary Ann Thom and Dan Powers of Butte and Betsy (Chris) Hawe of Anchorage, Alaska; grandchildren Cody, Katie and Kelly Thom , sister Marg Best of Deer Lodge, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Judy (Dale) Schwanke of Great Falls; brother-in-law Jim Vercella of Butte and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank the staff of Frontier Hospice and Big Sky Assisted Living for their excellent care and kindness and compassion, especially during Bill's final days. Friends are asked to join the family between 10 AM and 11 AM Tuesday morning at Holy Spirit church for visitation. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 AM. Interment of ashes will take place this summer. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Ronald McDonald House (

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