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Wilbert E. Smutz, World War II Army veteran owned Eden auto dealership

July 2, 1927 – May 24, 2016

Wilbert E. “Will” Smutz, who owned and operated an auto dealership in Eden for more than 25 years, died Tuesday in ElderWood Health Care at Wedgewood, Amherst. He was 88.

Born in Eden, he joined the Army at age 17 and served as an infantryman in France, Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia, receiving two battle stars. Returning from service, he earned his diploma from Eden High School in one semester and attended Bryant & Stratton Business Institute, where he met his wife.

Mr. Smutz then went to work as a salesman for his uncle George R. Howell, who owned a Chevrolet dealership in Eden.

When his uncle retired in 1964, he bought the dealership, which became Howell-Smutz Chevrolet. He sold the business to West-Herr and retired in 1990.

He was a member of Eden’s first organized police department, serving as a part-time officer for 10 years.

He was a life member of Newell Faulkner Post 880, American Legion; Eden Memorial Post 8265, Veterans of Foreign Wars; the National Rifle Association and the 26th Infantry Association.

He and his wife of 66 years, the former Rosemary E. Meidel, were both licensed airplane pilots and enjoyed hunting and traveling throughout the U.S. and Europe.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by three sons, Michael M., Patrick J. and Daniel D.; two grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 8791 S. Main St., Eden.

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