Smith family seeks new Thanksgiving hosts for Pine River meal

Family is ready for someone else to take over tradition of preparing free meal


Descendants of Violet and Floyd Smith are looking to pass the torch of perhaps their family's biggest annual tradition, the Smith Family Thanksgiving.

More than a quarter of a century has passed since the first time Violet and Floyd rolled out the welcome mat for those looking for a meal and company during Thanksgiving. More than 300 people have eaten with the Smiths in recent years at the Pine River American Legion. Understandably, their children and children's children are ready to return to a simpler holiday meal.

“Some of us are just getting too old to do it,” said Lisa Douglas, daughter of Violet and Floyd.

The tradition continued after the deaths of Violet and Floyd, even though Violet had considered putting an end to it years before her death.

“When Mom was alive, she thought about it quite often. We've been seriously talking about it in the last three years,” Douglas said.


Douglas said she will miss the people they served every year.

“They were so grateful and good,” Douglas said.

The change may be a shock to the younger family members.

“We're trying to figure out what we're going to do with ourselves,” Douglas said. “Some of the kids, the younger nieces and nephews, have never seen a Thanksgiving besides the Legion. This is a tough thing.”

The family hopes someone might take up the mantle and continue the event in their stead. The Pine River American Legion provided the roasting pans and equipment, but Douglas said the family can provide records, shopping lists and any information they have learned with their years of experience. Interested parties should call Shirley at 218-820-9187.

Pequot Lakes Thanksgiving meal

Grace United Methodist Church in Pequot Lakes also hosts a Thanksgiving dinner every year, and they are preparing to absorb some of the diners who would have attended the Smith family meal in Pine River.

“We're aware of the Smith family situation,” said Ann Hutchings, with Grace UMC. “The ladies here at Grace UMC would like to change the hours from 12 noon to 3 p.m. (instead of the usual 2 p.m.) because we might have more guests due to the end of the Smith family one.”


More details will be available soon.

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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