Eldon Ellickson Smithback, age 84, died peacefully at his home on Sept. 2, surrounded by his family.
Eldon is survived by his sister Myrtle (Curtis) Knutson; his daughter Katrin (Sherie Land) Smithback; his son Eric (Martha) Smithback; his grandchildren Philip, Sara, Nandita and Dolna Smithback; and numerous friends and relatives.
He was preceded in death by his wife of sixty years, Dorothea, whom he missed terribly. Together they raised two children, entertained four grandchildren, traveled the world, made many good friends and thoroughly enjoyed life.
Eldon was raised on a farm in Wisconsin and he could do anything. As a teenager during WWII he joined the Army Air Forces, became a bomber pilot and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery and skill. As a businessman and entrepreneur, he started Office Equipment Corporation in the early 1960s, a fixture on Main Street in Racine for many years.
Eldon was completely at home in the outdoors. He had a large, beautiful garden, which gave him much pleasure -- and yearly bragging rights for the first ripe tomato of the season. He was an avid golfer and member of Meadowbrook Country Club for nearly forty years. An outdoorsman and hunter, he loved duck hunting on the Mississippi and often supplied the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. With his wife Dorothea he introduced his children and grandchildren to the outdoors, and took them camping every summer, delighting everyone with his hollow log fires. Eldon was an environmentalist from 'way back, and as a lifetime member of the Nature Conservancy and other organizations, he worked to preserve the wilds that he loved so well.
Eldon was a real mensch. He was kind and generous, handsome, intelligent, curious, confident, loving, strong, outgoing, fun and funny, an inveterate practical joker and game player, a charming raconteur, a talented carpenter, a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and friend.
We will think of him every time we bite into a tomato, take a walk in the woods, marvel at the changing of the seasons, watch a duck flying overhead, canoe down a river, or anytime we revel in the beauty of the world, which was made a little more wondrous because of him. He will be deeply missed.
A Memorial Service will be held at the funeral home on Friday, Sept. 18, 2009, at 11 a.m. Relatives and friends may meet with the family at the funeral home on Friday, September 18, from 10 a.m. until time of service. In lieu of flowers, you may make a donation to Eldon’s favorite organization, The Nature Conservancy.
MARESH-MEREDITH & ACKLAM FUNERAL HOME
803 Main St., Racine (262) 634-7888