In East Dundee, the name David Smith is synonymous with public service, because he was the village's longtime police chief, its first village administrator and the director of the QuadCom emergency dispatch center in Dundee Township.
Smith, 64, died Monday at his East Dundee home after a short battle with cancer. He was diagnosed Sept. 23, with peritoneal mesothelioma, according to his wife, Beverly Smith.
From 1977 to 1986, Smith worked as East Dundee's police chief and was instrumental in professionalizing the department, according to longtime patrol officer John Theis.
Smith instituted a police and fire commission to hire and fire officers in 1980, as well as a pension system for the police officers.
"That's huge for a police department," said Theis, who has been with the department since 1980. "When you're just an at-will employee, there's no real job security and you never know what you're doing from one day to the next."
Theis said Smith was a hands-on type of boss who always wanted to know what he was working on, seemed like "a big gruff rough and tough guy" and who ordered Theis to shave off his beard when he joined the police force.
As well, Smith was a man with a lot of backbone and expected a lot out of himself and from the people who worked with and for him.
"He was certainly a role model any of us cops could look to," Theis said, adding that Smith always seemed to have an answer for everything. "It may not have been the easiest answer, but it was the right route."
After he left the police department in 1986, Smith became village administrator, a position he held until 1999. From there, he became the director of public safety communications programs at Elgin Community College.
He returned to the Dundee area in 2008 as the director of QuadCom, a position he held until he passed away. When he wasn't at work, he made sure to spend time with his family, his wife said.
He especially enjoyed visiting the Grand Victoria Riverboat Casino, golfing and going to the movies.
The Smiths met in Oct. 1976 during a blind date in East Dundee, became engaged two months later and married the following May. His wife said she knew almost immediately Smith was the one.
"He's a good man, he was fun," Beverly Smith said. "He was an amazing man and will be in our hearts forever."
Smith is survived by his wife, Beverly; his sons, David and Timothy; and a grandson, Logan.
Visitation will be 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Miller Funeral Home, 504 W. Main Street, West Dundee. There will not be a separate service.