Paul Smokov

Paul Smokov, 92, Steele, died Jan. 21, 2017, from complications of heart failure. He was surrounded by his family at home with hospice care. A memorial service will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church, Steele, with the Rev. Jake DeBoer officiating.

Family will greet guests from 6:30 to 7 p.m. where a prayer service will begin at 7 p.m. Friday at Eastgate-Steele Memorial Chapel, Steele.

Paul was born on Oct. 18, 1924, near Broadus, Mont. He completed the eighth grade in Steele and continued learning in the “School of Hard Knocks.” Paul was married to Betty Lorraine Benson on Sept. 20, 1953. They raised four daughters and one son on their ranch northwest of Steele. Paul was a naturalist who loved God in the outdoors. He dedicated his life and livelihood to raising cattle and could often be heard to say, “You take care of the cows, they’ll take care of you.” He enjoyed a ranching career that spanned seven decades, beginning in the era of horse-drawn farm implements and extending to the age of satellite-guided tractors. Throughout his life, he was frequently recognized and honored for his professional accomplishments. In 2013, he was named Rancher of the Year by the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association.

Paul is survived by his wife, Betty, and their five children and spouses, Bonnie (Phil) Peterson and Connie (Eric) Nikiforoff, North Dakota, Nancy (Don) O’Neill, California, Kathy (Marvin) Dykes, Washington, and Terry (Donna) Smokov, South Dakota; 10 grandchildren, Amber Joy, Aaron Peterson, Adam Peterson, Alex Nikiforoff, Garrett Nikiforoff, Jason O’Neill, Kristin Harrington, Justin Smokov, Jamie Schomp, and Jodie Severson; plus 11 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by one sister, June Miller, Calif.; two sisters-in-law, Lois Smokov, New Mexico, and Alvina Smokov, California; as well as his 106-year-old aunt, Lydia Grekoff and her daughter, Paul’s close cousin, Sandee Schmidt, North Dakota; plus many other cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Wasilie and Barbara Smokov; and his siblings, Mildred (Art) May, Doris (Bob) Kniefel, Johnny Smokov, and Jimmy Smokov.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Golden Manor or the Kidder-Emmons Senior Services, Steele.

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