Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Elkhart fire investigator Rob Smith poses for a portrait in front of Central Fire Station near downtown Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. Smith retired after 26 years with the fire department, which saw him work as a fire fighter, paramedic and investigator. (JENNIFER SHEPHARD/The Elkhart Truth)
Retired Elkhart firefighter Rob Smith loses battle with cancer
Posted on Feb. 25, 2014 at 7:44 p.m.

ELKHART — Rob Smith, who served in the Elkhart Fire Department for 26 years, died early Monday morning, Feb. 24, at Elkhart General Hospital.

Smith battled with pancreatic cancer for three years. He retired from the fire department after his condition deteriorated Sept. 30, 2013.

After several years of driving an ambulance and working the hydrants, Smith was promoted to a fire investigator.

Fire Chief Mike Compton remembered Smith as a good friend, firefighter and individual.

"We grew up at the firehouse together. We have the tendency to bond with people of out generation at the fire department," he said. "We had some of the same life experiences at the fire department."

Compton said the two were on the same shift during most of their careers, which helped them bond.

"I watched his family grow as he watched mine," he said. "So he's going to be really missed by myself."

Smith is survived by his wife, Thelma, along with his father, mother and five children.

He was a minister and Sunday School teacher at The Church of Cassopolis.

Smith's funeral ceremony will be held at noon Saturday, March 1, at St. James A.M.E., 122 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Drive, Elkhart. Burial will follow at Prairie Street Cemetery.