Rodney Charles Smith, originally of Rosalie, Nebraska, died peacefully on Sunday, Aug. 29, surrounded by his family. He was 79. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2021, at 3:00 p.m. at the Munderloh - Smith Funeral Home in Bancroft, NE. Burial will be at a later date. Memorials are suggested to the family for future designation. Rod was born at home on July 17, 1942, to Charles C. and Opal (Jenkins) Smith, the second of two sons. He had no memory of his mother, who died when he was an infant. This had a profound effect on Rod and was an early influence on what became a resourceful, make-do attitude. As a boy, he cherished his summers in Grand Island with his Aunt Betty and Uncle Stan, who cared for him and his brother as if they were their own children. On the pitcher’s mound, Rod threw an unhittable knuckle-curve; as a high schooler, he started as quarterback for the Rosalie Bulldogs. He graduated from RHS in 1959, at just 16. In 1960, he met Janet Westerhold while hanging out at the Cozy Corner Cafe in Pender; by July 1962 they were exchanging wedding vows in Luverne, Minnesota. Together, Rod and Janet raised three children: Kimberly, Jana, and Steven. Rod took on many roles in his hometown. He was a plumber for the local hardware; he spent time on a construction crew; he was a self-employed truck driver; and, for nearly three decades, he ran Smith’s Standard Service, a/k/a “Smitty’s City,” along U.S. Highway 77, three miles east of town. There, he earned the nicknames “Kingpin” and “Wrench Bender,” as well as a reputation for expecting the best out of himself and his employees – but also for being a fair businessman who would extend credit to anyone who needed it. When his work at Smith’s Standard was done, he spent evenings beautifying his home near the town park. He taught gardening for 4-H, was a Jaycee, voted in every election, and served on the village board. In 1990, with their children grown and Janet becoming postmaster in Henderson, Nebraska, Rod found himself among new friends. He drove a fuel truck for Central Irrigation, practiced his golf game, and caught bluegill in the sand pits east of town. He followed Janet as her career took her to Valley, Benedict, and, eventually, back to Henderson. During this time, he worked as the go-to fix-it man in the public schools at Yutan and Bradshaw. He retired in 2003, and they returned to northeast Nebraska. Rod made friends easily and was fiercely loyal to those in his circle. He, his son and sons-in-law, and his buddies spent many hours in fishing boats, duck blinds, and deer stands, and one of his favorite days was when the Cabela’s catalog came in the mail. If he didn’t have a home-improvement project lined up, Rod would spend his one week of vacation each year at Lake McConaughey, stalking walleye in the shallow waters off Kingsley Dam. He was faithful to the Huskers, Kansas City Royals, and Minnesota Vikings, and didn’t go a day without wearing something red, blue, or purple. Rod loved the taste of beer and the sound of country music, but like many of the subjects of such songs, he struggled with drinking. In 2010, with the support of his family and his old friend Bob Krahmer, Rod triumphed over alcohol. After leaving Valley Hope in O’Neill, he never drank again, a testament to his capacity for growth well into his 60s, and his deep love for his family. In 2012 he and Janet moved to Omaha. He overcame colon cancer in 2015, but it returned in 2019. On July 17, 2021, the day he turned 79, Rod woke to the news that his first great-grandchild had been born on his birthday. A few weeks later, he and Janet moved into an assisted living community in Lincoln, where he spent his final days. As he reflected shortly before his death, Rod shared some of the things he had learned during his long life: There is no pleasure like a job well done. There is no pride like taking care of what you have. There is no regret like having an opportunity but not taking it. And there is no price that can be put on the love of your friends and your family. He is survived by his wife, Janet; his daughters, Kimberly (Jeff) Castle of Marietta, Georgia, and Jana (Kevin) Furlong of Omaha, and his son, Steven (Kathy) Smith of Lincoln; six grandchildren, Jenna, Jayne, Katelyn, Judson, Joshua, and Ryan; a great-granddaughter (and another on the way); and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and stepmother, Ethel Smith; his brother, Dennis Smith; and his sister, Karen Paulsen.