Cover photo for Marlie B. Smith's Obituary
Marlie B. Smith Profile Photo
1937 Marlie 2023

Marlie B. Smith

June 15, 1937 — December 12, 2023

Portage, MI

Marlie B. Smith, 86, of Portage, MI, passed from this life into the loving, merciful arms of Jesus on Tuesday, December 12, 2023. The son of Phernam.T. and Elizabeth (MacNaughton) Smith, he was born on June 15, 1937, in Avon Township, MI, where he was raised and educated. 

A devout Catholic from a young age and a fourth-degree Knight with the Knights of Columbus, he attended St. Lawrence Catholic Church and school in Utica where he was an altar server for six years serving both at the Latin Low Mass and for Sunday High Mass. Later in life, Marlie recounted how he always stopped by the sacristy to ensure he covered Mass for any server who didn’t show up on time. He most looked forward to serving at funerals because “you always accompany Father to the cemetery which meant you could miss school for a good hour or even all day depending upon where the cemetery was located.” Marlie added that being picked to serve at weddings had “its perks” because there “was always a good tip, and sometimes [I] would dash to the entrance doors and ‘pass the basket’ to the guests coming out. That always paid off better than the tip.”

Having an entrepreneurial heart at a young age he entered the title insurance business in the mid-50’s where he learned the ins and outs of the industry and started a career that as he put it “would serve him well for nearly 60 years.” As a trendsetter in the title insurance industry, Marlie established offices on the west coast of Florida from Brooksville to Naples.

Marlie met the love of his life, Patricia Ann McGlew, at Saint Mary High School in Royal Oak, MI. They were married on October 6, 1956 at Our Lady of LaSalette Church, Berkley, MI and received an Apostolic blessing from Pope Pius XII. Over time, they joyfully welcomed the births of Sharon, Stephen, Michael, and Jennifer, followed, much later, by the surprise addition of their fifth child, Bethany, when Pat and Marlie were both 42 years old. In 2007, friends and family gathered to celebrate their 70th birthdays and their 50th wedding anniversary. 

Throughout his life, Marlie was known for his love of games no matter if it involved a board, cards, Chess pieces, Cribbage, or Poker chips. His quiet competitive and strategic nature often left your head spinning on how you could lose…yet again! He had a special knack for excelling at Monopoly. Fitting given his profession. He loved building model train sets and had been known to down half of a large watermelon in the rind with a spoon, or cozying up in his recliner with a large bowl of popcorn covered with 1/2 stick of melted butter and a spoon, to watch M.A.S.H. reruns on more than one occasion. Whether on stage or building sets Marlie was very active with the Royalty Theater Productions in the 1970's and early 1980's. A natural in the kitchen he could whip up a mean omelet and tempt your palate with both savory and sweet dishes alike. On Sunday's you could find him baking donuts in the church kitchen for all to enjoy. You always knew that Marlie had been cooking in the kitchen as evidenced by the mess!

Later in life, Marlie took up the hobby of making rosaries with plastic beads and lanyards. Having made thousands and thousands of them, they were donated to various world-wide missions as well as local organizations both in MI and FL. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren would often watch with a quizzical eye as he sat in his chair stringing bead after bead and lighting the end on fire to secure the knot. It’s a wonder who was more excited, the children as they got to help Grandpa string the beads and make their own rosary, or Marlie as he delighted in their interest? He would share information with them about the rosary and told him that he prayed for them every night when he said his daily rosary.  

One area of his life Marlie never shied away from was his gratefulness for the AA program. Always sharing with others that “he was powerless over alcohol,” he worked the 12-step program which, by the grace of God, enabled him to get sober. Marlie was a beloved sponsor and friend in the AA community. Engraved on his grave marker are the words, “Died Sober.”

Marlie is survived by his children, Sharon Abbott of Tampa, FL, Stephen (Stacey) Smith of Lansing, MI, Michael (Denise) Smith of Virginia Beach, VA, Jennifer (Curt) Dinkelmeyer of Kalamazoo, MI, and Bethany Smith-Mistretta of Lutz, FL, and 13 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandson. He was preceded in death by his wife, Patricia Ann (McGlew) Smith, parents, Phernam T. and Elizabeth (MacNaughton) Smith, his brother, P.T. (Smitty) Jr., two sisters, Patricia (Lindley), and Shirley (Korte).

Florida: The Funeral Mass of Resurrection will take place on January 5, at 10:00 a.m., St. Paul Catholic Church, 12708 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33618.

Michigan: A graveside service and Catholic burial will be held on Friday, April 5, at 10:30 a.m., at the City of Portage South Cemetery, 10401 S. Westnedge Ave., Portage, MI 49002. A catered reception will follow at the Dinkelmeyer residence (Marlie’s daughter and son-in-law) in Kalamazoo, MI. Directions to the reception will be provided the day of or by emailing

In lieu of flowers, please consider offering prayers, gifting a rosary, or baking Christmas cookies or bread to share with your family in honor of Marlie. He would undoubtedly be deeply touched by such thoughtful acts.

While visiting Marlie’s webpage at please sign the guestbook and/or share a memory with the family. Pictures of the family can be seen below.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Marlie B. Smith, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Friday, April 5, 2024

Starts at 10:30 am (Eastern time)

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