After he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in 2012, the decorated athlete made it his goal to raise funds for young special needs athletes
Steve Smith, 66, a retired coach and teacher in the South Bend Community School Corp., and former world-class age-group triathlete, lost his battle with brain cancer Thursday.
The first time I interviewed Steve Smith he was the Adams High School swimming coach working with a stable of state champion performers.
Read the Obituary and view the Guest Book, leave condolences or send flowers. | Steve C. Smith Oct. 20, 1947 - Sept. 4, 2014 SOUTH BEND - Steve Smith, 66, of South Bend and Clermont, FL, passed away peacefully on September 4, 2014, surrounded by his family. Steve was born on
Steve C. Smith
October 20, 1947 – September 4, 2014 SOUTH BEND – Steve Smith, 66, of South Bend and Clermont, FL, passed away peacefully on September 4, 2014, surrounded by his family.
Steve was born on October 20, 1947 in Vinton, IA to Ralph J. “Smitty” Smith and Elinor Baldwin (Hart) Smith. His mother precedes him in death, though his father lives on to cherish his memory. On August 15, 1969, in South Bend, he married Roxanna J. Baldwin, who survives. Together, Steve and Roxanna raised three children, all survive: a son, Aaron C. Smith of Memphis, TN; and two daughters, Sarah (Thomas, Jr.) Cira of Granger, and Molly (Josh) Woody of Fishers, IN; their grandchildren: Cole, Logan and Layne Cira, and Braylen, Malena, and Easton Woody. Also surviving are three brothers: James (Sherry) Smith of St. Louis, MO, Gregory (Susan) Smith of Muncie, and Michael Smith of Muncie. Along with Steven, the family carries on the memories of his mother, his sister Mary Catherine, and Sister-in-Law Denise Hogan Smith.
Steve graduated from the University of Evansville, IN, where he was a member of the Purple Aces swim team and Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He also earned his masters in education at IUSB and Indiana University, Bloomington.
Well known for his achievements in triathlons, he’s been called “the most decorated amateur triathlete of all time.” With over 250 triathlons completed, his most memorable achievements were his 13 trips to the coveted Kona Ironman, 15 National Championship titles, 15 Time All American by USAT and multiple World Championship titles in Olympic and 70.3 distances. He was inducted into the Indiana High School Swimming & Diving Hall of Fame in (2007) and was awarded the “Distinguished Achievement Award” by the South Bend Community Hall of Fame in (2010). He was also featured in Sports Illustrated “Faces In The Crowd”.
Steve taught for SBCSC for 43 years beginning in ‘69 at Jackson H.S. He later taught at Adams H.S. where he coached the boys swim team (71-80 and 96-11). He began teaching at Riley H.S. in 1970 where he retired from teaching in 2011. Steve owned and operated Eagle Swim Supply, Wicks ‘N’ Sticks (UP Mall) 1980-88, and Wallpapers To Go (Indian Ridge Plaza) 1987-1995.
His legacy of “always being the fastest turtle in the race” (Alsop’s Fable: Tortoise and the Hare) lives on as he became the honoree of the 1st Annual Barron Lake Triathlon in Niles, MI (August 30th, 2014). The triathlon was organized in his honor to benefit the “Racing For Steve-O” foundation that was established shortly after his brain cancer diagnoses. Steve established the mission for the foundation to help Michiana children have the opportunity to be involved in sports and athletics regardless of physical, mental and financial barriers.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday from 4-8PM, with a vigil service starting at 4PM at the McGann Hay, Granger Chapel, 13260 SR 23, enter off Cherry Rd. (574-232-1411). Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday at 10:30AM, with visitation one hour prior, at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 52553 Fir Rd., Granger, IN 46530.
The family strongly requests that no flowers be sent. Instead, they ask that those who wish to honor Steve’s memory do so by sending memorial contributions to: Racing For Steve-O, Inc, 14831 Copper Penny Dr., Granger, IN 46530 or online at: www.racingforsteveo.org, or to the University of Evansville Swim Team UE Office of Annual Giving, 1800 Lincoln Ave., Evansville, IN 47722 or to the Vinton Community Swim Club. 302 N. 8th Ave, Vinton, IA 52349.
It’s with deep regret that late this afternoon, Steve-O had passed on from his journey on earth and is swimming with the sea turtles again at the Kona pier. He passed peacefully. Funeral arrangements pending and we will post information when available. Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers.
Our family wanted to update everyone on how Steve is doing. The past few days his health has continued to decline. He no longer responds to us, his breathing has become more labored and has transitioned into his last few days of life. With the help of hospice, we are able to keep him comfortable.
The entire Smith side of the family was in town for the triathlon this past weekend. He can still hear us, so we’re sure he enjoyed hearing all the stories about how great the race was. He felt a lot of love from everyone! Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers!
Well, the first annual Barron Lake triathlon went off today without a hitch! We had 279 registered racers! Our goal was 300 racers but I think with the risk of rain may have scared off some racers. The rain held off for the race, so we were very fortunate! The sun came out for the end of the race and we had a wonderful post race picnic with grilled corn on the cob, watermelon, pasta, hot dogs, hamburgers, and haciendas chips and salsa! Our custom made turtle medals and awards were a hit as well! I think it’s safe to say everyone had a good time! It was a very special day for us since the race benefited the Racing for Steve-O foundation. I don’t have a final number for how much funds was raised. Considering I was told we would be lucky to break even in our first year, we pretty much blew that out of the water!
Thank you so much to everyone who came out, racers, volunteers, sponsors and are amazing organizing crew! Words can’t express how grateful the Smith family is for all of you! We are so proud of dad and how much he has inspired so many of you.
We are also so proud of all the racers that came out to do their first triathlon! I think the biggest lesson learned through all of this is that life is short, don’t wait until tomorrow to start conquering your goals!
Thank you to Phil Patterson for bringing out his “Steve-O” bike for all of us to sign tonight before our ride. I’m still blown away by all the love and support out there for my dad.
Steve is still hanging in there but in the end stage of his life. His words are few and alertness continues to decrease. He will occasionally open his eyes or reach out to shake hands of visitors. He loves to hear stories of everyone’s training and races. He may not always respond, but he can hear us and responds with a nod. His appetite is decreasing and it’s getting harder for him to eat.
He is very comfortable and not in any pain. When he’s alert, his mind remains pretty clear and he knows who everyone is. He even told me (Sarah) the other day that I drive him nuts! Which made me laugh! At least he’s still honest! We are all doing OK and taking it day by day.
Please don’t hesitate to stop by and visit. Roxie’s cell is 574-323-6862 and they are still at The Hearth at Juday Creek off Fir Rd in Granger, IN.
Congrats to Nicole Burdge (Steve-O’s niece) on an amazing finish at Ironman Boulder! Way to go Nicole!!
Check out Phil Patterson’s new bike! “Friend’s of Steve-O” to raise awareness of brain and other cancers. Awesome!
He never ceases to amaze us! Last weekend, Steve-O stopped eating and would hardly open his eyes. Even during his normally alert times. For about 24 hours there, we were starting to think he had made a turn for the worst. Then, in true Steve-O style, he perked up, started eating and shot out a couple one liner jokes again! He still sleeps most of the time and has limited alert times. It’s getting tougher to get him to open his eyes, but his spirit and appetite remains pretty strong. Our family is just taking things one day at a time. Roxie is doing an amazing job taking care if him, making sure he’s getting the care he needs and asking for assistance when needed. Visitors are still welcome! Thanks for everyone’s continued support, prayers and thoughts!