Cover photo for David T. Smith's Obituary
David T. Smith Profile Photo

David T. Smith

April 3, 1943 — March 1, 2020

David T. Smith

David T. Smith, 76, of Atlantic, Iowa, died Sunday, March 1, 2020, at Heritage House in Atlantic.

On April 3rd, 1943, David Thomas Smith was born to Herbert and Mildred Smith on the family farm on Buck Creek Road in Cass County, Iowa. He graduated from Atlantic High School in 1961. As a graduation present, Dave’s parents purchased him a one way airline ticket to Hawaii to visit his sister Eleanor. He joined the United States Navy to serve his county as well as a means to get back home. While Dave was stationed in San Diego, his road trips back to Iowa consisted of speeds that buried the needle on his car’s speedometer. David spent his service time on land and at sea on different Navy vessels, most notably the USS Nereus. He served in the Vietnam war and was honorably discharged in 1965. Dave returned home to Atlantic after completing his time in the Navy.

A visit to the local café led him to ask his lovely waitress, Donna Lee Petersen, out on a date using a napkin. David and Donna were married on September 3, 1966. Between January 1967 and October 1971, they welcomed Michelle, Sonja, and Christina to their family! From 1966 through 1970, David worked successively as a mechanic at Bell Motors, an electrician with Walnut Grove Feed Company, Meisner Electric, and ABC Electric in Council Bluffs where he and his family moved in 1970. Dave’s most proud projects to be a part of were the construction of the old Cass County Memorial Hospital, the I-80 bridge across the Missouri River, and the original Bayliss Park fountain lights. In April of 1976, David was involved in a serious work-related accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury that left him paralyzed on the right side of his body and unable to communicate normally. He defied the odds and walked independently with a cane and talked using single words that he had to relearn. In 1980 the family moved back to Atlantic to be closer to family, and in 1984 he and Donna divorced.

With David’s determination and stubbornness, he didn’t let his circumstances stop him, and enjoyed living independently full of life and vigor. David was admired by his family, friends, and the Atlantic Community for his tenacity, faith, and sense of humor. David enjoyed his daughters’ sporting events over the years and attended events for his nieces, nephews, and grandkids. He remained active by mowing lawns, splitting logs, and tinkering in his garage to keep it meticulously organized. He definitely had his rituals: swimming laps at the YMCA Mon-Fri, coffee at Robinson’s Hardware, friendly game of checkers with his brother, and happy hour at the Fireside for his two beers. His words were few, “Damn, Damn, Damn” or “Ho-hum”, perfectly summarized his feelings

David was honored last year for being a member of Atlantic Kiwanis Club for 30 years, and he was honored by the YMCA at their annual Legacy Dinner in 2018. For decades, David has faithfully attended both First United Methodist Church and the Atlantic Gospel Chapel every Sunday. His faith started when he was a child at the family church, Buck Creek Methodist Church. David’s faith was in the God of the Bible, knew Jesus saved him, and now is in heaven with his Savior.

David is survived by his daughters, Michelle Smith of Waseca, MN, Sonja Smith of Atlantic, IA, and Christina Smith-Larney of Council Bluffs, IA; former wife, Donna Smith: grandchildren, Sarah Spande, Katie (Frank) Cacich, Jasmin Moore, Leah Moore, A’Lece Moore, and Coeus Smith-Larney (grand-puppy); great-grandchildren, Felicia, Christopher, Hudson, Frank, Zeke, Amelia, Jordan and Raleigh; sister, Eleanor Dunbar of Kaneohe, HI; nephew/nieces, Glen (Fauzan) Smith of Atlantic, IA, Diane Nosbisch of Clive, IA, Linda (Al) Robinson of Atlantic, IA, Nancy (Bill) Reece, of Mandeville, LA, and Haunani Oasay and Robert Dunbar, both of Hawaii; and many extended family and friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Herbert and Mildred Smith; brother and sister-in-law Richard (Jeannette) Smith; and half-brother, Paul Smith.

Visitation with the family present will be held from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Friday, March 6th at Roland Funeral Home in Atlantic.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, March 7th at Roland Funeral Home. Burial will be in the Brighton Township Cemetery in Marne, with military honors by the Atlantic Color Guard.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are requested to be given to the family for later designation between the Atlantic Gospel Chapel, Nishna Valley Family YMCA, the Atlantic Kiwanis Club, and Buck Creek Methodist Church.

Roland Funeral Service is caring for David’s family and his arrangements. Condolences may be left at

David T. Smith
April 3, 1943 - Buck Creek, Cass County, Iowa

March 1, 2020 - Atlantic, Iowa
At the age of 76 Years, 10 Months & 28 Days

10:30 a.m., Saturday, March 7, 2020
Roland Funeral Home - Atlantic, Iowa

Mike Eells - Atlantic Gospel Chapel

Janet Freeman

“Holy, Holy, Holy” by the congregation
“The Old Rugged Cross” by Sarah Spande
“Nothing But the Blood of Jesus” by the congregation
“Amazing Grace” (instrumental)

Christina Smith - Larney
Glen Smith
Al Robinson
Wayne Nosbisch
Jack Jensen
Lauren Joyce
Russell Joyce
John Nosbisch

Matthew Nosbisch
Jacob Smith
Peter Smith
Dean Robinson
Josh True
Adam Petersen
Aaron Petersen

Brenda Pottebaum
Jessa Knisely

Brighton Township Cemetery - Marne, Iowa

Atlantic Color Guard

The family appreciates your presence and care and invites you
to join them for lunch in the Heritage Hall at Heritage House,
1200 Brookridge Circle, Atlantic, Iowa
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of David T. Smith, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Saturday, March 7, 2020

Starts at 10:30 am

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Roland Funeral Service

204 E 5th St, Atlantic, IA 50022

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