Popular Red Deer chiropractor Dr. Lyle Smith, known for his dedication to easing the pain of innumerable Red Deerians over nearly six decades in practise, has died at age 80.
“He had an incredible work ethic and helped literally thousands of people,” said Michael Dawe.
The city councillor and local historian was among many city residents who were saddened to hear of Smith’s death on June 11 after a brief time at Red Deer Regional Hospital.
“He was a very caring, compassionate person and he will be missed by lots and lots of people,” Dawe added.
Smith, who was born in Vulcan and raised in Three Hills, ran a chiropractic practice in Red Deer for 57 years and clearly loved his job. He worked until his health worsened just a few weeks before his death, never intending to retire.
Smith would routinely start his days at 8 a.m. and work past 10 p.m. Since he never wanted to turn anyone away from his office, he would labour late into the evening to see every last patient in his waiting room.
On days off, Smith would volunteer to give back adjustments to seniors living in nursing homes.
Smith’s office, downstairs in the Towne Centre Mall on Ross Street, was a throw-back to the 1960s, with small cubicles that patients would wait in until it was their turn to be seen.
His rates were also from an earlier time — they were frozen for many years at $15 a visit before being raised to $24.
Smith, a soft-spoken man with a gentle demeanor, said he never wanted cost to be a barrier to anyone needing his services.
Many saddened patients were posting tributes to him this week: “Truly going to miss his gentleness, his wisdom, his humour, his hugs, his treatments… Rest in peace now Dr., you have earned it,” one woman wrote.
Another patient praised his “impressive” energy.
“He did so much to help everyone in my family, including me, and he always remembered me… (he) was the sweetest, kindest, most caring man in the whole wide world. I have known him my whole life and will miss him dearly,” wrote another person.
Smith’s grandson, Brendan, posted that Smith inspired him to follow in his footsteps, and also become a chiropractor.
“After seeing such joy and a smile on your face after helping a patient, I knew that it was the kind of job I wanted.”
Smith’s obituary in the Advocate describes him as a person of faith who was married for 57 years to Kathleen Smith.
His last wish was “that each and every day in some small way, we will express or show kindness to someone. In doing so, we will love our neighbours as ourselves.”
A service for the father of four, grandfather of 12, and great-grandfather of two will be held Monday at 2 p.m. at CrossRoads Church.