At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Highland Hills Baptist Mission Fund
1415 Northrup Avenue NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Mel Trotter Ministries
225 Commerce Ave SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Life Story / Obituary
Bruce Smith’s generous personality touched the hearts of many. Blessed with an abundant and loving family, he relished his role as a loving husband, father, and grandfather. His wonderful collection of memories will be fondly remembered and cherished by his many special friends and family forevermore.
Born on August 10, 1928, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Henry and Reka (VanderNaalde) Smith, his birth brought great hope and promise to his parents during an exciting time in our nation’s history. The 1920s saw large-scale industrial growth and significant changes in our nation’s culture. Bruce arrived at the height of the Roaring Twenties yet never forgot the impact of the Great Depression during his growing up years. Those who lived during this period of time gained the strength to see them through the most challenging of economic times.
Bruce was blessed to be raised by parents and surrounded by relatives who loved the Lord. He came to know Christ as his personal Savior at a young age. Bruce’s faith in God was steadfast. He consistently showed obedience to God by loving others. Bruce demonstrated that love in a quiet and unassuming way.
Growing up on the west side of town, Bruce learned the value of a hard day’s work at a young age. His parents owned the local Lincoln Park Dairy and distributed the crude milk from the farmer right to the doors of its customers! They started out in their early days using horse drawn carts. Later, as the business progressed through the years, they moved up to delivery trucks. His family spent their vacations at their cottage on the shores of Lake Michigan, yet often Bruce would choose to stay in town and help his dad with the business. These early years led to a lifetime of Bruce being passionate about working in his father’s footsteps.
He attended the local Sibley Elementary School and graduated from Union High School. As a young adult, he had a love of cars and driving and most often was the reliable friend that would volunteer to drive others around town! Knowing exactly the path he wanted to take in life made it easy for him to enroll at Davenport College and transfer to Michigan State’s agricultural and dairy program. Eager to get started in the world, he didn’t have to finish a degree before he was independently able to thrive in the family business.
Bruce had a natural way with people. His easy-going and charming personality drew him to a young woman, Faith, who was another attendee at a youth event at Calvary Church. Sharing many commonalities, especially their faith, they dated off and on for two years before Bruce proposed. Wealthy Street Baptist Church was the perfect setting for their September 7, 1950 wedding ceremony. As newlyweds, they took a trip out west including a stop to Mount Rushmore for their honeymoon. Together, they raised two wonderful children; Gregory and Beverly. His hard work provided them with enough resources to build their beautiful family home at 2310 Dacoma NW in the early 1960s. They thought of everything in the original design plan and made many fond memories there.
As a dad, Bruce always lent a listening ear and offered up his fatherly advice without judgement. He loved to plan a family vacation every other year including all of the stops they would visit along the journey. They enjoyed seeing the sights and taking different routes to get them back home. They also continued to enjoy the family cottage including trips to Ludington. Road trips were their favorite as Bruce always liked to find an unknown stop or a unique landmark to visit. Nothing made him prouder than to share in his children’s every success!
When the dairy business grew more challenging, Bruce chose to partner with his well known competitors, Roger and Bob Haadsma, and share the name, Quality Creamery. A good businessman, he knew that this would lead to both companies having more success. Bruce’s reputation of putting relationships before profit were the key to many years of good business. Their clients always trusted his integrity and knew he wouldn’t settle for anything but the very best for them. Working hard to share his retirement years with Faith as well as his growing family were important goals for Bruce. Sadly, he lost his bride in 2001, yet he leaned on the support of his family and friends over the years.
When it came time for his many special interests and hobbies, Bruce was always on the go. An active member at Calvary Church and later Highland Hills Baptist, he enjoyed helping out with many activities and serving his faith community. Social by nature, Bruce enjoyed meeting with his regular breakfast groups as well as playing a round of golf. He always held a quiet presence but also had genuine concern for others which made him many lasting friendships over the years. When it came to sports, there was no doubt about his loyalty to the Detroit Tigers! Win or lose, he remained an avid fan for decades.
Bruce lived his life as a wonderful model of loving unconditionally and always being a good friend to others. His trust was easily earned and his promises of always being there for someone in need never wavered. Bruce’s special friends and loved ones will surely miss his quiet demeanor and steadfast love. May they reflect upon his memories with great joy and share his story for generations to come. A special thanks to Visiting Angels, Rest Haven and Faith Hospice for their loving and compassionate care.
Bruce W. Smith, age 91, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, entered his heavenly home July 24, 2020. Bruce was born August 10, 1928 in Grand Rapids to the late Henry and Reka (Vander Nald) Smith. He was also preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Faith; son, Gregory; brother, Allen; and several Vanden Hoek in-laws. Bruce attended Highland Hills Baptist Church and was an owner/partner in a dairy business. He will be remembered for his love of God, family and friends. Bruce is survived by his daughter, Beverly (Dennis) Reid; granddaughters, Karin (Jesse) Crowley, Cimberly Reid; great grandchildren, Landon, Cailin, Dakota, Jacob; brother, William (Lorraine) Smith of Norton Shores; and several nieces and nephews. A private family graveside service was held at Rosedale Memorial Park. The family is planning a memorial service to be held at a later date when the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. Memorials may be made to Highland Hills Baptist Mission Fund or Mel Trotter Ministries. To leave a memory or condolence at www.heritagelifestory.com.