By Emma Nelson
AUGUST 11, 2018
Those who knew him describe a man whose life was colored by tragedy from the beginning, but punctuated until the end by moments of grace.
Smith was able to bring Puffy when he spent the night at St. Stephen’s. Later, with help from the organization and Novatney, he moved into an apartment. When Puffy died, Smith asked that the dog be cremated and the ashes tucked inside a stuffed animal that he could hold as he slept.The RV stood in the same downtown Minneapolis parking lot, day in and day out, never moving.
Don Novatney could see it from the building where he worked and wondered if someone was living inside. He hoped not — it was deep winter and frigid cold.
Then, one Sunday, he read a newspaper story about a World War II veteran living in an unheated RV.
“I drove over there and knocked on his door and asked him if he was the person in that article,” Novatney recalled. “And he said yes.”
Shortly after, the man, Ed Smith, also caught the attention of the VA. He soon started receiving enough benefits to move out of the RV, and he lived the rest of his life in an apartment building for seniors in Minneapolis.
Smith died July 25 at age 92. Those who knew him describe a man whose life was colored by tragedy from the beginning, but punctuated until the end by moments of grace.
“He didn’t really have anybody most of his life,” Novatney said. “He just wanted somebody to know his story.”
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