On Saturday, May 20th, the Good Lord was in need of a drummer and called the band’s own Doug Smith into service.
Doug was born on May 27, 1925, in Houghton, MI, the son of Chester and Evadne (Thatcher) Smith. After graduation from Houghton High School, Doug enlisted in the US Navy Air Corps from 1943-1945, where he served in a combat air crew as a Flight Engineer on a Patrol Bomber Mariner (PBM) in the Philippines. After his service, Doug graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University, and earned a Master of Science degree from Purdue University in Mechanical Engineering with an Aeronautical option. In 1952, Doug was recruited by West Bend Aluminum Company in Hartford where he helped design and develop Elgin outboard motors for Sears. Later, after West Bend was acquired by Chrysler Corporation, he was the lead engineer in bringing to market the first electric-start fishing outboards. He finished his career as Quality Control Manager for the Chrysler inboard manufacturing business, retiring in 1995.
Doug joined the Hartford American Legion Band, now known as the Hartford City Band, as a percussionist in 1952, where he met Margaret Butzler, an alto saxophone player. They were married on July 9, 1955 at St. Kilian Catholic Church and raised 5 children together. In addition to performing with the band, he also served as its treasurer, business manager and equipment manager for many decades. A memorable event with the band was a trip to play in Washington DC. As a part of the trip, Doug was chosen to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. After retiring from playing in the band in 2015 he remained active by continuing to manage the bands scholarship funds. As a result of his diligence, the band is able to offer two $1,500 scholarships to area students: The Doug and Margaret Smith Scholarship and the Fred Aliota Memorial Scholarship.
Doug loved a parade and entertaining the crowd. He always said that only a parade can reach that many people at a time. When Doug could no longer march with the band, he found an additional outlet with the Old Mapleton Circus. For many years, you could see Doug atop the truck playing circus marches at breakneck speed. With Doug in the back row the band never lost a beat. In addition to playing the usual summer parades, he was honored to be a part of the band in a number of Circus parades in Milwaukee and Baraboo.
We will miss Doug. Everyone who new Doug will miss him. We find solace knowing that he is in uniform ready to start a concert or play a roll-off.
The Hartford City Band, located in beautiful Hartford, Wisconsin, has been providing Hartford and the surrounding area since 1880 with the best music a group of amateurs can create. Our members are all volunteers who come from within the city as well as various area communities.
The dedicated musicians play a variety of events with a variety of configurations including:
We also encourage our area high school students to join us for our summer concert series. These young people give us an opportunity to share our talents.