Obituary: Peter Knute Smith

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“It’s not the years in your life, it’s the life in your years.”

Pete Knute Smith grew up in the forests around Port Townsend with his younger brother Sam. They had happy childhoods, exploring the woods, riding horses, learning to fish and shoot a bow. Pete loved the outdoors and his thrill at climbing trees would later become an occupation he delighted in and where he excelled. He was absolutely fearless climbing the tallest, gnarliest trees with his chainsaw.

The first official job he took in life was during his tenure at Port Townsend Junior High school, teaching a class of students to play the didgeridoo. He would go on to pick up the guitar and took to it with a passion, spending hours each day practicing. He joined his first band at age 16 and would later join several other bands, continuing to share his gift of music. He never failed to entertain an audience on stage or off, and some might say he was even a bit of a showboat with his impressive talent. His music will live forever in recordings, videos and in the memories of his friends and loved ones.

Pete was known for his sense of humor and ability to impersonate friends, family members and celebrities, or even new characters he simply made up. Conan the Barbarian was a favorite. Pete could recite numerous movie quotes with bravado and flair. Most notably was Conan’s answer to the question of what was best in life; “To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.”

Pete had warrior spirit and tremendous courage but life brought tragedy to him. He never recovered from the untimely tragic loss of his brother and best friend Sam Toshiro Smith on July 17, 2015. The darkness would be briefly lifted with the birth of his beautiful infant son Sami Bear on June 2, 2016. Pete was ecstatic to be a father. Five weeks later his son would die from sudden infant death syndrome.

Despite his immense personal struggles, Pete continued striving to care for others and sharing his big heart with the people in his life. He is cherished and sorely missed by his family and many friends.

Pete didn’t fail at living life. He pushed it to the limit time and again, surviving out of sheer will at times. And even in his absence so early in what we think of as a life, his loved ones can rest easy because for almost all of the 32 years he graced this earth, Pete really lived.

He was preceded in death by grandfathers Warren Smith, Harry Fitch, father Robert Smith, brother Sam Smith, and son Sami Bear.

He is survived by mother Sarah Fitch, grandparents Marcia and Don MacMullan, grandmother Margaret Smith and an extended family of relatives and friends who are proud to call him family.

A memorial to celebrate Pete’s life will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 24 at the American Legion Hall in Port Townsend. All who knew him are invited to attend.

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