Please note: due to probable snowstorm, day of funeral has changed.
Nellie Mae (Nantz) Smith, age 96, of Bird Island died April 4, 2019 at RenVilla Nursing Home in Renville. Funeral services are at Our Saviors Lutheran Church, in Bird Island, on Tuesday, April 16th at 11 a.m. with Rev. Mandy France officiating. Visitation is Tuesday from 9 to 11 a.m. at the church. Burial is at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis at 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday, April 17th. Please meet there at Assembly Area #4 by 11:00 a.m. Arrangements are with Dirks-Blem Funeral Service of Olivia.
Nellie Mae Smith was born April 12, 1922 near Crandall, Spink County, SD to Fred and Nellie (Barber) Nantz. She attended the first seven grades of school in Oakland, CA and the eighth grade in Bird Island. She graduated from West High School in Minneapolis in 1940. She moved back to California and attended secretarial school. She started working for Northwestern Bell Telephone Co. in Oakland, CA and transferred to Minneapolis to continue working for them. On June 20, 1943 she married Leo “Smitty” Smith at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Bird Island MN. Smitty served his country in the US Navy during WWll and Nellie joined him at Corpus Christi, TX, during the end of his tour of duty. They settled in Bird Island and were blessed with four children. Nellie was employed for several local businesses and ended her career at the Recorders Office at the Renville Co Courthouse in Olivia, retiring in 1988. She was a longtime member of the Eastern Star Lodge and served on the Girl Scout Council of West Central MN. She enjoyed sewing, embroidering, playing cards, fishing, reading, and was an avid sports fan…. especially the Bird Island Lake Lillian Panthers. Nellie was a faithful member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Bird Island where she participated at the Fair Booth and church dinners. Nellie’s family will remember her for her hugs, unconditional love, good food (world’s best pumpkin pie and bomb Special K bars), and everything about Christmas. She truly loved to spend time with her children and grandchildren. Nellie had been well cared for these past ten years at the RenVilla Nursing Home in Renville for which her family is truly grateful.
Nellie is survived by her four children: Nancy (Jon) Henslin of Clear Lake SD, Peggy (Bob) Eddy of Litchfield, Kathie Montognese of Brooklyn Park, Randy (Sue) Smith of Pleasant Plains, IL; her 13 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren; and her half-brother Andy (Linda) Nantz of Woodland CA. Nellie was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Smitty, son-in-law Craig Reese; and other relatives and friends.
Dirks-Blem Funeral Service offers many styles of services to honor the memory of your loved one. Funerals should be meaningful, reflect the individual, and celebrate the life they led. Personalized funerals are more involved, giving people a chance to remember what made that individual so unique.