Peacefully on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 Stuart Smoke passed away at the Portage District General Hospital at the age of 86 years.
Stuart will be lovingly remembered by this sons Milton, Albert (Pansy), Wilbur, Stuart, Eugene (Debby) and Kim (Sherri); brothers Leslie (Elaine), Orville (Rosalind) and Ronald “PeeWee”; special friend Edith Hall; grandson Dean, who he raised, and many more grandchildren, great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and special relations that he took as his own.
Stuart moves on to join his wife of 47 years Audrey Pashe; sons Irvin Smoke and Dwayne Pashe; parents Chaske and Tiyo Smoke; sister Rowena; brothers Lawrence, Raymond, Ernie, Gordon and Arnett; grandson Rydell Johnson; great granddaughters Nicole Longclaws, Jeanette Malcolm and Victoria Francis.
Stuart was born and raised at Dakota Plains First Nation. He attended Portage Residential School until Grade 3, when he moved back home to help his parents on the homestead, especially enjoying the cattle and horses. He also worked on threshing teams helping other farmers in the area. He often worked with a pitchfork all day and would go home with blisters. His mom would bandage them up, and he would be back out the next day with pitchfork in hand. Stuart loved physical work, and he also worked in Grafton, ND loading potatoes onto freight cars. One day, when they were almost finished, a Cadillac pulled up and out came Hank Williams Sr.! He stopped to visit and shake hands with them… quite an experience for a music lover and guitar player like Stuart. At the age of 16, he began work for Manitoba Hydro, and then went on to his lifetime career in construction and woodworking. Stuart built homes North of the Hospital and in the Koko Platz area in Portage la Prairie, and then at Dakota Plains and Long Plain First Nation, where he was often called upon to figure out things that other builders couldn’t. His father encouraged him from a young age to work hard, and he passed that work ethic on to his sons as well. Stuart also had a talent for cutting hair – people would come to him from miles around! Stuart loved his hockey, playing with the Portage Centennials in his younger years. He passed on his love for hockey – he built a rink in the yard one 5 gallon pail of well water at a time. Stuart was small but mighty… and he was always willing to help out anyone who needed it.
Stuart’s family would like to send a heartfelt thanks to nurse Kim Beam at Dakota Plains Health Centre and the doctors, nurses and staff at the Portage District General Hospital for their care and compassion throughout his illness and last days.
Traditional Wake will take place at Dakota Plains School on Friday, February 1, 2019 at 4:00 pm. Traditional Feast and Service will be held on Saturday, February 2, 2019 beginning at noon followed by burial at Dakota Plains Cemetery.
A tree will be planted in memory and cared for by McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel. 204-857-4021 www.mckenziesportagefuneralchapel.com