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Daniel Smith, 46

Daniel John "Dan" Smith, 46, of Hudson, Hudson Fire Department lieutenant, died suddenly Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009, at Regions Hospital in St. Paul after being rushed to the hospital in the night prior.

Dan was born on May 6, 1962, in Hudson, the son of Ronald and Virginia (Schwerm) Smith. He attended St. Patrick's and E.P. Rock Elementary schools prior to graduating from Hudson High School in 1980.

He furthered his schooling at 916 Vocational School in the Twin Cities where he attended classes in electronics.

He married the former Carol McDowell, to which son Cody was born. This union would later dissolve.

Dan was inspired by helping others and decided to become a firefighter. He became trained as a firefighter and joined the Hudson Fire Department. He worked his way through the ranks from firefighter, instructor to lieutenant, which was his current position.

Through the fire department, he became very knowledgeable in haz mat situations. He was offered a position at Bay West Inc. in St. Paul, providing environmental investigation, engineering and emergency spill response, which was Dan's specialty.

He was also a respected instructor for WITC (Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College) in hazardous materials and was a former member of the local emergency response dive team.

Although a dedicated employee and volunteer firefighter, nothing gave him more pleasure and rewards than being Cody's dad. During fire prevention week, he loved to bring the big red firetruck to Cody's school and watch Cody smile ear to ear.

He was a Cub Scout leader who enjoyed spending time and working on various projects with his son. They vegetable gardened, went cross country skiing, kayaking and bike riding. It was Dan and Cody's ritual every year to bake their holiday pies. Although Dan may be gone from Cody's life, he will forever live on in Cody!

Dan was also a friend of many. He was a simple, down-to-earth guy who enjoyed being around his friends. He enjoyed his trips out West and jumping on his Harley Davidson Motorcycle and hittin' the roads. He appreciated a beautiful sunrise or sunset, a country road or a shiny red firetruck as he frequently took pictures of it. He enjoyed photography.

Although a cliché, his second family was his fellow firefighters on Hudson Fire. In good times and bad, they have always been there! This past year (2008), he was awarded the honor of Firefighter of the Year by his peers.

Dan will remain in the hearts of his son, Cody (his mother, Carol); parents, Ron and Virginia Smith of Hudson; siblings, Marilyn (Mark) Gaetz of Hudson, Ronald (Lynda) Smith of Colorado Springs, Colo., David Smith of Hudson; nieces, Michelle, Elise, Amy and Niky; best friend and companion, Barb Kelley and her son Sam of Hudson.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents.

A Celebration of Life for Daniel Smith was at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 26, at the Hudson High School auditorium.

Burial with fire department honors was in Willow River Cemetery. Visitation was Sunday from 3 to 8 p.m. at the O'Connell Family Funeral Home of Hudson.

To honor Dan's legacy, memorials are preferred in lieu of flowers and will be used to establish a scholarship fund in his son Cody's name, who meant the world to him!