Frank LeRoy Smith

Frank LeRoy Smith of Cortez died Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012 at Vista Grande Inn, following a gallant battle with congestive heart failure.

Born in Dolores on April 30, 1921 to Pauline and Frank “Smithy” Smith, Frank was an outstanding athlete and a leader during his years at Dolores High School, where he graduated in 1941. While in high school, Frank competed on the basketball team that reached the state finals.

Following the Pearl Harbor attack, Frank, along with many of the starters on that team, enlisted in the Navy, where he served on the USS Barnes until Dec. 2, 1945, on the repair and rearmament of airplanes.

Taking advantage of the GI Bill, Frank attended Fort Lewis College (The Old Fort). On Jan. 1, 1949, Frank married the love of his life, Jeanne “Jinx” Cauthen and made a home in Dolores. Following the birth of their daughter, Patricia, Frank moved the family to Rangely, Colo., where he pursued a 30-year career with Chevron in the oil fields. Son Michael was born to complete the family. Frank was a lifelong member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He was a past Exalted Ruler.

He retired in 1982 and his love of the outdoors brought Frank and Jeanne to their long dreamed-of life along the Dolores River in the mountains, where he was renowned as an avid fisherman. In 1996, poor health forced his relocation to Cortez.

Frank is survived by his loving wife, Jeanne, of the Cortez home; his children, Patricia Smith of Bayfield and Michael F. Smith and wife Connie of Longview, Texas; his grandchildren, Lyndsay Francies and husband George of Cypress, Texas, and Ryan Smith and wife Kelli also of Cypress; and great-grandchildren, Avery Smith, Cooper Smith and Kyla Francies.

Preceding Frank in death were his parents, Pauline and Smithy Smith; his brother, Gordon Smith; and his sister, Mary Ellen Byers.

As requested by Frank, no services will be held. There will be a celebration of Frank’s life from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22 at the family home, 2704 Golf Course Dr., Cortez.

Frank was a gentleman, a giant and gentle man who lived a long, full life and was loved and respected by many.

In lieu of flowers Frank would want you to remember him as you visit with his family or donate to your favorite charity.

Arrangements are being made through Ertel Funeral Home. For further information or to send condolences, log on to and click on the obituary section.