“It’s been a life accented by wonderful memories and good fortune, but also great tragedy,” recounts Danny Smith, our IMGA Golfer of the Month.
Born in 1948, he grew up in a modest neighborhood only a few blocks from Grosse Pointe, the mansion-filled suburb of Detroit on Lake Sinclair where the automotive elite lived and played. As a youth, he and his friends would ride their bikes down to the lake to fish in the backyards of some of those glorious, but usually empty estates, because the owners were in their northern Michigan homes for the summer.
Attending the same small school from kindergarten to high school allowed him to build close friendships that have endured to this day.
His summer job during college was with Douglas & Lomason Company, a family-owned automotive company that started in 1902.
Little did he know that he would spend his career working there with colleagues who became almost like family. He rose through the ranks to become Vice President of Manufacturing Cost Analysis and traveled to manufacturing locations throughout North America.
His college years not only signified the launching of his career, but it was also when he met his wife Nancy. She worked in the college Psychology Department as an administrative assistant. After three years of marriage, their first son Jason was born in 1974, followed by son Jim in 1976.
Tragically, Jason died when he was just 21 years old, and Nancy died suddenly just 10 years later.
Concerned about Danny’s well-being, his boss told him that she would call him every day … just to check up. It was a promise that she faithfully kept. However, one day, she informed him that she was going to travel out of the country and that an “alternate person” would be calling. The new “checker-upper” Beth ultimately became his new wife when they took their vows at the rim of the Grand Canyon over eight years ago.
Now that he has recovered from a year-long bout with lung cancer, when not playing golf or working for IMGA, you might find Danny at a friend’s or neighbor’s house solving their computer-technology problems … or preparing tax returns during tax season.
Those of us in IMGA readily recognize Danny as one of the smiling faces behind the counter before our tournaments and the announcer in the parking lot giving us our marching orders.
What we don’t see is the five-plus hours per week he spends as the IMGA Tournament Director, setting pairings, making adjustments for no-shows and add-ons, establishing the annual schedule of games, attending course maintenance and IMGA meetings, coordinating the work of eight scoring and pairing volunteers, etc., not to mention the over 30 hours he’s already spent learning new software which must be implemented by the first of the year.
Hearing Danny explain the “behind the scenes work” that is required to allow IMGA to function as a club motivates us to express our sincere gratitude to him. Thank you, Danny!