While enjoying a beautiful evening in the mountains training his young son Lance and two best friends for the high school mountain bike team, Ric Smith (52) suffered a tragic heart attack that sent him suddenly back to his heavenly home. He left us way too soon, but established an amazing legacy here on earth. Ric is the son of Richard Lynn and Eliisa Smith, and was equally proud of his Finnish ancestry as he was to be a direct descendant of Hyrum and Joseph F. Smith and Heber J. Grant.
As the first born son in a family with eight busy kids, Ric learned responsibility at an early age and is an idol for each of his siblings. He has a humble, unassuming manner and captivating laugh that draws respect and admiration from all who know him. He never really sought the spotlight, although he earned it many times. He attended Olympus High School, where his white Jeep became an icon of adventure. He competed around the globe on the US National Freestyle Ski Team as an inverted Aerialist (that's where you go off insanely high jumps and do flips and spins) and was the first skier in the U.S. to complete a quadruple twisting triple flip. Although he had a promising ski career, he gave it up to serve a mission in Leeds, England. That was the beginning of a lifetime of service, both in and out of the church he loved so much. He was an Eagle Scout and paid it forward as an amazing Young Men's mentor and Scoutmaster, and was always ready to lend a hand to those in need. In July 1993 he married his ski team sweetheart and fellow adventurer Laurel Wright in the Manti Temple, and together they had six beautiful children -- Asher (24), Arielle (21), Thayne (17), Lance (14), Cecilly (10), and Steiner (9). Ric is an incredible father who went to great lengths to ensure that his kids experienced the magic of the great outdoors. For nearly 20 years, Ric usually carried a child on his back on the ski hill or a hiking trail as the whole family adventured together. They spent many wonderful days and weeks camping and boating, water and snow skiing, hiking and canyoneering, snowmobiling, horseback riding, and mountain biking all over our beautiful state.
Ric is a graduate of the University of Utah School of Nursing - a career carefully chosen to allow maximum family time. In 2001, he left full time nursing to join his father and brother in business and was instrumental in building Service Advocates. After the company sold, he continued developing programs for other companies in utilization review and case management - generously sharing his talents and knowledge as he developed both systems and co-workers to be the best they could be. Ric supported his family in all the things they love and regularly attended the theatre, the symphony, piano recitals, musicals, ball games, and Arielle's horse competitions. He found his sanctuary and God in the beauty of nature. He found his huge heart in his family, and placed a little bit of it into each one of them. Ric led the way down the ski hill, teaching each one to carve their turns and follow in his ways. He performed many flips on the trampoline, and taught the kids to do the same. His rooster tail behind a water ski boat seemed to reach the top of Lake Powell's canyon walls. He raced and beat everyone up the mountain with his bike, and even ecstatically got tapped by a shark when scuba diving. He wanted to hike every mountain, repel every slot canyon, and take a picture of every random flower he found along the way. His smile lit up every room and his laugh brought endless joy.
He is still encouraging each of his kids to do their best and follow their dreams. Without any formal training in the trades, handyman Ric fixed cars, snow plow trucks, boats, snowmobiles, sprinklers, plumbing, and lots more. In 2018, he and his sons Asher and Thayne did roofing projects together so Thayne could earn money for his first car. He and Laurel (and the kids) maintain a beautiful yard with chickens, dogs, a cat, horses, and toys for adventures. Together, Ric and Laurel fixed up each of their homes – doing most of the work themselves. With this lasting legacy of handyman training, the kids have sworn to work together (between school classes and continuing adventures) to finish repairs on the family Mt. Aire cabin that Ric loved so much.
Ric is survived by his wife Laurel, their six children, parents Richard and Eliisa Smith, siblings Pete, Maria (John) Bates, Michael, David (Rebecca), Tiina (Boyd) Maughan, Kathy (Brad) Alldredge, Eliisa (Trent) Heugly, in-laws David and Jerre Winder, Tri (Connie) Wright, Shauna (Brent) Sloan, Merrick (Annmarie) Wright, Jenny (Steve) Gillette, Devin (Joslin) Wright, Karen Wright, and dozens of adoring nieces and nephews.
An outdoor appropriately socially distanced service will be held Monday, May 18, 2020 at the Winder Residence: 490 16th Avenue in Salt Lake City. Viewing at 4:00 pm. Service at 5:00 pm. Please bring masks and blankets and sit with your family to celebrate this champion's amazing life.
Livestream 5:00 pm: bit.ly/RicSmithLives
Donations may be made for Ric's kids at www.gofundme.com/f/rics-kids-future-fund