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Howard Francis Smith, age 78, of Billings, passed away Friday, Nov. 14, 2008 at Billings Clinic Hospital after a long battle with cancer.

Howard was born July 27, 1930 in Broadus, the third son of Jack C. Smith and Helena Benti Smith. Howard grew up in Broadus, attending Broadus Elementary and graduating from Powder River County High School. Upon graduation in 1949, Howard enrolled in the Gale Institute in Minneapolis where he studied to become a station agent for the railroad. On Jan. 11, 1951 Howard was drafted into the army and served in Germany until his discharge in Dec. 1952. Howard returned to Broadus and worked at the Montana Bar for six months. He enrolled under the GI Bill at Billings Business College. After completion of the two year program, Howard remained in Billings, working for Peterson Typewriter Company. On July 12, 1956, Howard began his service with the State Department Foreign Service in Manhattan, N.Y. He spent the next 30 years working as a budget and fiscal officer in various locations around the world including Taiwan, Thailand, Ecuador, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, El Salvador, Ghana, Africa, Kenya, Morocco, Netherlands, Holland, Indonesia, and Austria. He married Ann Lucion in 1962. Ann was a fellow State Department employee whom he met on assignment in Holland. Howard enjoyed traveling and visited many locations including China, Spain, England, Scotland, Finland, Poland, Greece, Iran, Turkey, and Italy but always maintained his roots in Powder River County. Howard retired in 1986. On Feb. 3, 2001, Howard married Mary Ellen Irion an old acquaintance from Broadus at the Westover Baptist Church in Arlington Va. Howard came to know the Lord at Heights Baptist Church after relocating to Billings.

Howard loved traveling, good food, bowling, doing crossword puzzles with Dan, playing Spider on the computer, CHOCOLATE, and his family. As Howard would say, "Have a Ball."

He is survived by his wife Mary Ellen Smith of Billings; three stepchildren Deborah (Owen) Hanson of Watford City, N.D.; Carla (Tom) Bowers of Broadus; Wade (Tassie) Irion of Billings; seven step grandchildren Leslie (Scott) Demers; Brock (Erin) Hanson; Bill and Tyler Bowers; Brittany, Brianna, and Bethany Irion; one stepbrother Ray (Janet) Potter; a stepsister Myrna Potter Chavez; one niece, Jackie Smith VanGundy; one nephew, Paul Smith; two step nieces, Debbie Potter Nickel (Larry) and LaRae Potter Weikert (Bill); and several step nephews.

He is preceded in death by his first wife, Ann Lucion Smith, his parents, his stepmother Beulah Smith, two brothers Lee Smith and Jack E. Smith, and two stepbrothers Richard Potter and Gary Potter.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 18, at the Heights Baptist Church in Billings. Visitation will be held from 1 to 6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 19, at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home in Broadus. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 20, at the First Baptist Church in Broadus. Interment will follow in the Valley View Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting:

Should friends desire, memorials may be made to the Powder River Historical Museum or to the charity of one's choice. Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home of Broadus has been entrusted with the arrangements.

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