MAX BIGLER SMITH / 1924-2006
Paniolo Hall of Famer ran Kahuku ranch
Max Bigler Smith, a member of the Paniolo Hall of Fame and a third-generation cattle rancher, died Tuesday at Kaiser Medical Center. He was 82.
For nearly three decades, the cowboy operated the 4,000-acre Gunstock Ranch in Kahuku and was a fixture for decades at local rodeo events.
In a 2003 Star-Bulletin photo essay by photographer Cindy Ellen Russell, Smith said it was not the first time he rode a horse that he remembers as significant, but rather the first time he ran one. "I was 4 years old the first time I roped a horse, and I still remember."
Smith was born in the small town of Central, Ariz. "I used to ride a horse to school," he recalled in the interview three years ago. "I'd turn it loose and it would go home. I usually rode to school because I had to take the milk cows to pasture, and then turn him loose."
Asked then when he planned on retiring from competition, Smith replied, "Well, when I was roping, people kept asking me, 'When are you gonna quit?' and I'd say, 'When I don't think I can beat ya.' I guess that will be the same with penning and sorting."
His son, Greg, said, "If you asked him what he was most proud of, he would tell you that it was being a horseman."
The elder Smith taught horsemanship classes for 20 years at the University of Hawaii and 10 years at Brigham Young University at Laie. He had operated a small animal hospital clinic in Arizona before moving to Hawaii.
His son said Smith moved to the islands in 1965 to become a state meat inspector. He was later elevated to state veterinarian. Smith was Hawaii state veterinarian until 1994, retiring after 19 years.
He graduated from Eastern Arizona University and received his veterinary degree from Colorado State University. After the war, Greg Smith said, his father "helped return livestock to war-torn Europe."
He is survived by wife Rita; sons Barry, Troy, Jon and Greg; daughters Kris Ann Gustauson and Kari Achabald; and 24 grandchildren. Viewing will begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 349 Kailua Road, with funeral services at 1 p.m. Burial will follow at 3 p.m. at Hawaiian Memorial Park.