Dennis A. Smith, 56, of Oak Park, died unexpectedly on April 25, 2021. Born on Oct. 4, 1964 in Michigan, his family moved to Orange, Texas which is where he spent his formative years. He has shared many stories of his time spent playing sports, fishing with his dad and brothers, and learning all the lessons of a young man in Texas. He liked to say he was a born Midwesterner, naturalized Texan, aspiring Brit and honorary Cajun. He traveled the world for work and pleasure and called everywhere he landed, home.
Highly ambitious, he put himself through engineering school and graduated with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas in Austin. He went immediately into the oil industry and worked for various companies, including Conoco/Phillips and most recently with BP as operations assurance & labor relations programs manager. An incredibly hard worker and mentor to so many, he was often referred to as a “MacGyver” because he seemed to be able to solve problems everywhere yet never wanted to take any credit.
He had a big personality, a big laugh, and an even bigger heart. His passions included hunting, fishing and golf and he was good at all of them. At home, he was a BBQ pit master and made the best barbecued ribs, brisket and homemade sausage. People would come from far and wide for his smoked potato chips. A self-proclaimed wine and coffee snob and a bourbon aficionado, a nightly old-fashioned was always on the menu.
He travelled everywhere from Alaska to Croatia, Greece to Abu Dhabi. He was always up for another trip. A proud father, he cherished his time and travels with his son, Austin, and always shared what he called “Life Lessons” with him.
“Above every rainy day is a sunny day,” he would say, and believed it.
Dennis was the husband of Heidi, the father of Austin James Smith; the son of Marie and the late Wayne Smith; the brother of Greg (Terry), Brian (Karen) and Mark (Kristi) Smith; and the uncle, cousin and friend of many.
Visitation was held on May 2 at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home. Funeral Mass was celebrated May 3 at St. Giles Church, followed by private interment.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the American Red Cross (redcross.org) or giving blood is appreciated.