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Published: Monday, 8/11/2008

Carpenter was well known for fixing bicycles

ASSUMPTION, Ohio - Edward Charles Smith, a former carpenter known for repairing and selling bicycles in his front yard, died Saturday at his home near this northeast Fulton County hamlet. He was 82 years old.

Mr. Smith died of renal failure, said his daughter, Luann Smith.

Mr. Smith was born in Berkey, Ohio, and moved to nearby Assumption while growing up. He graduated from Metamora High School in 1944, enrolled in the Army in 1948, and served in Japan and Korea.

He suffered from frostbite while in Korea and he put his red face to use and played "Santa's Helper" around Christmastime, Ms. Smith said.

"We never caught on," she laughed.

Luann Smith was one of three children born to Mr. Smith and the former Kathleen Wilson, whom he met at the Park-O-Rama parade in Metamora and married in 1953.

Mr. Smith was a carpenter with Local 1138, largely working on commercial buildings, and retired in 1988.

After he retired, he became interested in buying and fixing up old bicycles and making them like new. He went to various neighborhoods in the area to get bikes and would then bring them back to his home to repair.

He lined them up and sold them in front of his house along State Rt. 64.

"He sold bikes and barrels, and he always had bicycles in front of the house. People knew it as 'the house with the bikes,'" Ms. Smith said.

Mr. Smith also held garage sales.

"He was quite a salesman. He could sell snow to a snowman," his daughter said.

Mr. Smith's daughter said her father wasn't interested in sports but recalls buying "a loaf of bread and a pound of bologna" and going fishing off Michigan bridges or the reservoirs in Metamora.

The family also enjoyed camping throughout Michigan.

Mr. Smith enjoyed attending the Hamler Festival in Hamler, Ohio, and enjoyed "the polka and the beer," his daughter said, again with a laugh.

Mr. Smith's sister, Margie Gillingham of Assumption, said her brother was generous and always willing to help.

"He was my Mr. Fix-It. Any time I needed something I would call him and he would help me," she said.

She still has the dolls her brother sent her while he was serving overseas in the Army.

"I would always check the mail and see if my brother sent me anything," she said.

Mr. Smith was a member of the Holy Trinity Catholic Parish, where he had been an altar boy.

Surviving are his second wife, Doris, whom he married in 2002; daughter, Luann Smith; son, Jim Smith; sister, Margie Gillingham, and ten grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Kathleen Smith; a daughter, and a brother.

The body will be in the Weigel Funeral Home, Metamora, where the family will receive visitors after 2 p.m. tomorrow. A Rosary will be recited at 7 p.m., followed by a military service at 7:30.

Prayers will begin in the funeral home at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Assumption.



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