Our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather Michael (Mike) Pipkin Smith, age 77, passed away on March 11, due to complications from cancer.
Dad rolled into Murray on Feb. 2, 1944, weighing in at a hefty 11 pounds 13 ounces! Poor Grandma Jessie! He was the sixth child born to Henry McDonough Smith and Jessie Belle Tye Smith.
He was born into a big family with rowdy, fun boys and a beautiful, kind older sister: Lois, Reed, Mary (died in infancy), Ray, Greg, then Dad, and finally Jessie Rick. Dad loved and looked up to his brothers and sister and had a happy childhood. Now part of Taylorsville, Dad grew up in a big farming community, which he loved. He would often point out areas now covered with homes where he and his brothers would work and play, roam fields and hunt pheasants. When asked about his younger years he would smile and say, “as a bunch of boys would tend to do, we would get into our bits of trouble but it was a really nice place to live.”
Dad attended Plymouth Elementary, Valley Junior High, and Granger High School. He loved history, sports, and fixing cars, which he and his friends would race on the streets where they lived because, as he pointed out, nobody lived there. He was very proud of the cars they built and raced, but he loved his blue 1960’s Valiant he inherited from his brother Greg most of all.Dad picked up his first golf club when he was 5 years old. Grandma Jessie ran the café and golf shop at Meadowbrook golf course and you would find Dad there every day. He would putt for hours at a time. His first job was selling pop to golfers as a 9 year old. He loved the game with all of his heart and continued to play through high school on the golf team, winning tournament after tournament, graduating from Granger High School in 1962.
He met the lovely and bubbly Cynthia Ann Hoskisson in 1961. They were on a double date together, but not with each other. She fixed that in a hurry. They were married on Sept. 11, 1963, in the Salt Lake City Temple. Dad and mom spent their early years together in Provo while Dad went to school and played on the BYU golf team and mom worked. While at BYU he just kept winning almost every tournament he played in, but he never talked about winning. He said of those years, “I was a sophomore at BYU when my dad died. My golf coach stepped in. I believe, besides Cyndy, Karl Tucker had the most profound impact on my life. He helped me in so many ways after the death of my own father.” Dad graduated from BYU in 1967.
The next 60 years of his life were devoted to God, family and golf. Dad was an incredible golfer but his real passion was in teaching the game to others. He started teaching in 1972. There were many summer nights at Fore Lakes Golf Course where crowds of people would surround Dad as he taught someone, trying to catch a few words of instruction from the master teacher. In 1989 and 1998 he was selected as the Utah Section PGA Teacher of the year. From 1995 to 2006 he was consistently voted best teacher in the state of Utah by Golf Digest magazine. The man could teach golf like nobody else in the business.
From 1989 to 2010 Dad taught with Nikon Sports Company, who would send students from Japan to St. George for him to teach the fundamentals of the golf swing. Several of these students are now golf teachers themselves and teach some of the most successful Japanese golf professionals on the PGA tour.
In 2007, at the age of 63, and just to “help the kids,” he became the Dixie High School Golf Instructor, and led both the men and women golf teams to the 4A State Championship. He started programs for older adults in St. George, bringing thousands of golfers back out to the golf courses. He also taught and directed many successful junior golf programs over his career. It is estimated he taught more than 45,000 people how to play the game of golf. As his kids we learned that if we went anywhere with him (to the store, to the bank, or even to Disneyland), we would have to get used to running into someone who he had taught and they would talk through their current grip and swing with Dad.
Dad was a faithful follower of Jesus Christ and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was a favorite Sunday School teacher, a sought-after High Council speaker, and a beloved nursery leader (the children really loved “Brother Smiff”). Dad was happy to serve in any capacity. He and Cyndy loved attending the temple in St. George. In his later years, one of his favorite spots to walk was around the Payson temple site when they retired up north to Payson, in early 2011. A few years later they moved to Salem where they resided until 2020.
Dad took great care of his wife Cyndy throughout the years, especially as her health declined. He did the very best he could with the unique lot he was given with us children and we cherished him: Sean, Jennefer, Chantel, Randon (Mindi) and Hank (Sara). He taught us to work, work, and work some more. He was idolized and adored by his grandchildren: Jerdin (Ashley), Makenzie (Brad), Braxton, Nolen, Emma, Annie, Madelynn, Mason, Elijah, Rockwell, Steele and Cooper. They were and still are the light of his life and we know he will be their guiding angel giving them sound advice as they continue on their own life journeys.
He was preceded in death by his father Henry, his mother Jessie Belle, his sister Mary, his brother Reed, his daughter-in-law Angela and his son Sean. He is survived by his wife, his four surviving children, 12 grandchildren and three great grandchildren, and a large beautiful extended family who love their “Uncle Mike.”
Dad was one of the kindest souls to ever grace the earth, he never uttered an unkind word about someone else. He was a true gentleman and a master teacher, who followed the master teacher, our Savior Jesus Christ, in all that He did. We love you Dad. We miss you something fierce, but we know we will see you again. Until then we will “go get it done.”
We would like to thank those who watched over our dad the last few months, his dear friend John Nickles, the Encompass Health, Dr. Esplin and Revere Health, and the amazing Spring Garden Team in Mapleton. Condolences can be offered at www.legacyfunerals.com.