Long time Billings’ resident and attorney, Bob Smith suffered a stroke on Monday, December 31, 2012, and passed away on Friday, January 4, 2013. He was surrounded by his family, and the love of many friends.
Bob was born on July 16, 1952, in Billings, Montana, the son of Claude B. and Mary Smith. He attended St. Pius X Elementary School, Central Catholic High School, and graduated from Billings West High School in 1970. During high school, Bob was on the Varsity Speech Team and very active in Key Club. Bob attended college at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, with minors in English, Political Science and Accounting, in 1974. While at Gonzaga, Bob was on the Dean’s Honor Roll 1970 – 1974, he was an active member of Phi Alpha Theta (National History Honor Society) and Intercollegiate Knights (service organization), and he participated in a variety of intramural sports. Bob, as well as his future wife, Judy, spent their Junior year of college in the Gonzaga-in-Florence, Italy Program, where they travelled throughout Europe, Northern Africa, and Middle East on a tight budget and formed friendships that truly lasted a lifetime. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Bob attended Gonzaga University School of Law and graduated cum laude with a Juris Doctoris degree in 1977.
Following law school, in 1977, Bob decided to return to Billings and he received an offer to become an associate attorney with the law firm of Sandall & Cavan, provided that he passed the Montana State Bar Exam. Bob sat for and passed both the Washington State Bar Exam and the Montana State Bar Exam in the Fall of 1977. Immediately after Bob was informed that he passed the Montana State Bar Exam, and with the knowledge that he would be gainfully employed, he jumped in is car and drove from Helena, Montana to Spokane, Washington, and proposed to the love of his life, Judy A. Green, whom he had dated for five years.
Bob and Judy married in Spokane, Washington, on February 11, 1978, and settled in Billings where Bob began his legal career and Judy was a teacher. Bob and Judy were blessed with two wonderful children, Brian and Lindsey, who have been and continue to be the greatest joys of their lives. Bob was kind, loving and supportive husband, father, grandfather, son, brother and uncle. He is already deeply missed by the Smith family, Green family, and many, many others.
Bob was an excellent attorney, and his legal practice flourished over the years. He was successful as a litigator, as well as in the general practice of law. Bob became a partner with Jim Sandall and John Cavan, and the firm name was changed to Sandall, Cavan & Smith. Through the years, other attorneys were members and partners in the firm, and Bob developed deep and lasting friendships with them all, as well as their families. Bob was a member of the Yellowstone County Bar Association, the State of Montana Bar Association, and was admitted to practice before all Federal and State Courts in Montana, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. Bob received many awards, acknowledgements and accolades over the past 35 years, but he was most proud of the fact that he was the President of the Yellowstone County Bar Association from 1998 – 1999, and the fact that he received the Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction Award in 2012 (a distinction of honor based upon client reviews).
Bob and Judy were very active in the Billings community, and they strongly supported service and charitable organizations throughout the area both financially and by giving of their time and energy. Bob and Judy have always had a deep personal faith and have been very active in their church, St. Thomas the Apostle, serving as Eucharistic Ministers and in other capacities. Bob truly believed that individuals who had been blessed had an obligation to share those blessings to others. Bob held this belief firmly, and in accord with his beliefs, Bob was an organ donor and strongly urges others to consider this gift as well.
Bob joins his beloved parents, Claude B. and Mary Smith, his sister, Peggy Christiansen, and his nephew, Adam Orizotti, who have all passed before him. He is survived by his wife, Judy of Billings; son, Dr. Brian T. Smith of Billings; daughter, Lindsey A. French, and her husband Dr. Kris French and Bob’s granddaughter Klaire of Salt Lake City; his sister, Patty Orizotti, and her husband Ed Orizotti of Butte; his brother, Tom, and his wife Robin of Billings; brother-in-law, Dave Christiansen, and his wife Jill Christiansen of Spokane; uncle, Bill Smith of Billings; uncle, James F. Purcell of Munster, Indiana; and many nieces, nephews and cousins, and their families.
Vigil service will be held at 7:00 o’clock p.m. on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 o’clock a.m. on Wednesday, January 9, 2013, at St. Thomas the Apostle Church with Rite of Committal in Sunset Memorial Gardens. Memorials may be made in Bob’s name to a charity of your choice.