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Obituary – Dr. Gary L. Smith

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Dr. Gary L. Smith

February 22, 1960 - August 9, 2021 

Gary “Doc” Lee Smith, age 61, died August 9, 2021, in Goodland, Kansas. He was born February 22, 1960, in Lamar to Larry and Joyce (Harper) Smith. Gary grew up on his family farm outside of Holly. He was the oldest of four brothers.

Gary graduated from Holly High School in 1978 as a decorated wrestler, earning multiple state titles. He continued his education at Colorado Northwestern Community College, in Rangely on a wresting scholarship. He received a degree in animal science from Colorado State University (CSU) in 1984. While at CSU he enjoyed his time as a member of Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji) Fraternity, where he made lifelong friends. In 1993, he earned his doctorate in veterinary medicine from CSU and moved to Goodland, where he eventually owned and operated Prairieland Animal Clinic, now known as The Animal House.

Gary married Debra Kaye Nordyke June 13, 1987, in Holly.  Together they welcomed four boys: Tanner (1989), Keegan (1991), Taylen (1995), and Kelbey (1998).  

When he wasn’t working at the vet clinic, Gary could be found at his sons’ sporting events. He also had a love for hunting and fishing, his family, and catching up on his favorite movies or TV series. 

Gary was always willing to help any person or animal in need, over the years taking both animals and people into his home. 

He enjoyed contributing to the community of Goodland by investing his time into many businesses including Smitty Sports, Doc’s Coffee, and many real estate ventures. 

Gary is preceded in death by his father, Larry Smith; grandparents, Elmore and Esther Smith and Earl and Louise Harper; sister-in-law, Tracy Smith; dear friend, Richard “Rastus” Simon; and beloved dog, Waffles.

He is survived by his sons, Tanner (Kendal) Smith of Lyndon, Kansas; Keegan (Alaina) Smith of Goodland, Kansas; Taylen Smith of Goodland; and Kelbey (Drew Bowman) Smith of Larned, Kansas; grandchildren, Ryker, Declan, and Harper; mother, Joyce Smith of Holly; brothers, Greg (Trish) Smith of Monument, Galen (Penni) Smith of Durant, Oklahoma, and Glenn Smith of Eads; and numerous nieces, nephews, other family members and friends. 

Gary will be remembered for his love of the outdoors, famous bierocks, ability to BS with anyone, and compassion for animals and people in need. Many would say he loved animals more than people.  Gary was a rough and gruff person but cared with all of his being. He is irreplaceable and will be missed by many.

Funeral services for Dr. Gary Smith were held Friday, August 13, 2021, at the Goodland United Methodist Church.  There will be visitation Saturday, August 14, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. at Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel in Holly.  Per Gary’s request, cremation will follow with inurnment taking place later.

In lieu of flowers, the family has created a memorial in Gary’s honor.  Donations can be made to the Doctor Gary Smith Memorial and sent to Western State Bank, Attn: Steve West, 815 Center, Goodland, KS 67735, or Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel, P.O. Box 950, Lamar, CO 81052.

Arrangements are under the direction of Valley Memorial.