Donald Eugene Smith, one of four children of Surcy and Vivian (Figgins) Smith, was born July 21, 1942, at Auburn, Nebraska. Don grew up in Auburn and was baptized at Auburn First United Methodist Church. He attended school at Auburn Public Schools, graduating with the class of 1960 from Auburn High School.

After high school, Don enlisted in the United States Army in September of 1960. He spent a majority of his active-duty enlistment overseas, before returning home and transferring to the Army Reserve in August of 1963. Don then served in the United States Army Reserve until his honorable discharge in September of 1966.

Don worked for many years as a janitor for Johnson-Brock Public Schools. Don loved this job and the daily interactions he was able to have with the many students throughout the years at Johnson-Brock. He also drove a bus while working for Johnson-Brock. Before his time as a janitor, Don had worked at Tri-Pac Cabinet Factory in Auburn, and Darlings Café in Auburn.

On May 27, 1994, Don was united in marriage to Carol (McMichael) Emrich at Coryell

Park near Brock. Don would welcome Carol’s children as his own. The couple made their home in Auburn.

Don had been a member of the American Legion Post #23 of Auburn, and ABATE of Nebraska motorcycle club. He loved his grandkids and time spent fishing on the Missouri River.

On the morning of Sunday, August 20, 2023, Don passed away peacefully at his home in Auburn, having reached the age of 81 years and 30 days. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Ron Smith, sister Kathy Volker, grandson Caleb Davis, and child Erin Emrich.

Those left to mourn Don’s passing include his wife Carol; children and their spouses Larry Dean Emrich of Auburn, Eric Emrich of Arkansas, Annette (Brian) Tennant of Auburn, Rhonda (Ryan) Barnett of Norwalk, IA, Tina (Carl) Davis of Clarinda, IA, Travis Emrich of Auburn; 15 grandchildren; numerous great-grandchildren; nephew Ron (Karen) Smith of Auburn; brother Dennis (Cathy) Smith of Piper City, IL; other nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.

A celebration of life will be held Saturday, September 2, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Auburn Eagles Club. Burial of ashes will be in Bedford Cemetery at Howe.

Memorials are suggested to family choice.

Services are entrusted to Hemmingsen Funeral Home of Auburn.


Nemaha County Herald

PO Box 250
Auburn, NE 68305
PH: (402) 274-3185
FAX: (402) 274-3273