Don Erle Smiley
1929 - 2020
Share Don's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Don Erle Smiley, born October 8th, 1929 in Seward, Nebraska, was a true artist. His vision and imagination were the guiding force throughout his life, offset by an incredible sense of humor.

Don served in the United States Armed Forces as a Sergeant.

Following his service, Don briefly attended a four-year University, and then attended the Art Institute of Chicago.

Don married Patricia Anne Black and fathered two children Lisa (Bryce and Collin Dahlgren, grandchildren) and Scott. He ran a commercial art business in old town Chicago for several years. He then moved to San Diego.

In 1965, Don married Patricia Jene Rill and again worked as a graphic designer in San Diego and became father to Matthew Smiley (d. 2003) and Alicia Smiley.

In 1992, Don and Pat moved to Durango, Colorado. Don retired from commercial art and became a serious photographer. He fell in love with making art via the computer. He was very prolific and produced an unending flow of unusual, iconic images.

Don was creative, loving, private, funny, and so loveable. He was a loyal and entertaining husband to Pat for 55 years.

He had a huge impact on so many people, and he will be greatly missed by all that knew him.

A memorial will be held in Summer 2020, following quarantine, in Durango, Colorado.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Pine River Times on May 20, 2020.
Not sure what to say?
5 entries
June 3, 2020
Sosorry for your loss pat what a long and beautiful love you had though. My prayers are with you and your family.
Deanna Nelson
May 24, 2020
I met Don because the Smileys were friends of my folks in Durango. I've eaten meals with them, in their home and my folks'. And I think I even helped him with his computer a time or two. And I have some of his artwork on the walls of my apartment. Thank you, Don.

One of the last times I saw him, I was the chauffeur for him and my Dad to lunch at a restaurant my Dad liked, somewhere down near Farmington. We all stuffed ourselves with fried catfish. It was a good trip. And the longest drive to lunch I've ever taken.

I saw him every time I was in Durango. He will be missed.
Skip Scown
May 24, 2020
We met Don and Pat when they moved to Durango. They became friends with our friends Elva and Ed Scown. Our love to Pat and their family.
Alberta and Gary Grefsrud
May 21, 2020
I met Don and Pat when they moved to Durango. They were a wonderful couple. Don was such a good man. My prayers for peace during this time.
Kim Waters
May 21, 2020
Pat. Rick and I would be interested in coming to Durango when you have the memorial service for Don. We love you.
Kathleen Rosendahl-Garcia
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences