Death – Flags to fly at half-staff for Vandenbroek Kaukauna firefighter who died from COVID-19

Death – Obituary

OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) – Flags will fly at half-staff Wednesday for a Vandenbroek Kaukauna firefighter who died after contracting COVID-19.

Stephen M. Smith passed away on Dec. 20. He was 54-years-old.

Smith received his diagnosis on Nov. 27 after contracting the virus in the line of duty. He passed away at a hospital.

“We extend our sincerest sympathies to Steve’s wife and kids, his friends, and his colleagues as they grapple with his tragic loss,” said Gov. Tony Evers. “To those who knew him, Steve was a good friend and someone who cared deeply about others, and he will be missed by the many whose lives he affected.”

Smith spent 28 years with the Vandenbroek Kaukauna Fire Department.

“He will be greatly missed by all,” reads a post on the department’s Facebook page. “Rest easy Steve, we’ll take it from here.”

“Steve took great pride in the ability to help others. He had so much more to give, and so many more adventures to undertake,” reads an obituary.

On Tuesday night a Vandebroek Kaukauna fire truck carried the remains of Smith to Holy Cross Church in Kaukauna where a visitation took place that Fire Chief Ron Young tell us, was emotional.

“It’s a very big loss. Very big. It’s going to be hard. He will be greatly missed,” he said.

Fellow firefighters say he took great pride in helping others.

“It’s a huge loss for everybody, for the fire station, the firefighters, for the community. He volunteered for Walleyes for Tomorrow, Dave’s Muskie Club. In fact, he was an usher here at Holy Cross Parish. He just did so much,’ said retired firefighter Jerry Meulemans.

Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson also issued a proclamation calling Wednesday, “Stephen Smith Day.”

Nelson added, “This is the least thing we can do. The least thing is to recognize the service, recognize the contributions, of those brave men and women who don the uniform and are out there.”

The focus now is on healing.

“I think it brings everybody back to ground zero, central, what’s really important in life, don’t take anything for granted,” Meulemans said.

Young said, “What a great man, what a great father, what a great husband. I’m proud to know him.”

Smith is survived by his wife and daughters and extended family.

Copyright 2021 WBAY. All rights reserved.

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What Is An Obituary

In national newspapers an obituary (obit for short) is a news article that reports the recent death of a prominent person. Although it tends to focus on positive aspects of the subject’s life this is not always the case. According to Nigel Farndale, the Obituaries Editor of The Times: “Obits should be life affirming rather than gloomy, but they should also be opinionated, leaving the reader with a strong sense of whether the subject lived a good life or bad; whether they were right or wrong in the handling of their public affairs.”

In local newspapers, an obituary may be published for any local resident upon death. A necrology is a register or list of records of the deaths of people related to a particular organization, group or field, which may only contain the sparsest details, or small obituaries. Historical necrologies can be important sources of information.