Eddie Smith (2)
A year long struggle with AIDS came to a quiet end as Eddie passed on in the early hours of a peaceful Sunday morning. Eddie is survived by many friends and his parents Orville and Ella Smith, who were by his side his last few weeks.
Born in Fresno, CA, Eddie moved and grew up in Framington, NM, where his unique form of style started to bloom. Eddie brought his creative talents back to California and settled in L.A. where he was a twirler in the Great American Yankee Freedom Band, and an original member of L.A. "Campers."
Eddie moved to San Francisco in the early '80s where he became a die-hard square dancer. He helped choreograph the closing ceremonies for the 1982 Gay Games, and became involved in a number of square dance clubs. A member of Western Star Dancers for many years, Eddie served on the board of directors and instructed several classes.
His love for square dancing led him to join "Gold Rush," where his talents shined once more. Eddie was a strong force in choreographing routines & organizing performance for the rodeo circuit.
Take from us all too soon, Eddie will be truly missed.
Sweet Dreams, "Mother."
Memories of Gold Rush
by Joe Sobiesiak circa 1996
EDDIE SMITH was known as "Mother". Eddie was the leader and choreographer of the group. He'd come up with great ideas and music. Eddie was also a very creative person. He was always working on different projects: needle-point, quilting, making dresses. He also kept us all in line. We all knew that if we got out of his "good graces" we'd be in trouble and he'd claim he didn't know us. For our birthdays, the guys would go out to celebrate. On Eddie's 39th, he decided he wanted to keep it quiet. So, Don and I rented a tour bus, bought 30 yards of the most horrible material we could find, and surprised him with a tour of The City with over 40 people. I'm so glad we have that event on video. Every time we watch it we laugh and cry at the same time. Eddie was very quiet about his illness and was found in his apartment, in a coma, a few weeks before the L.A. Rodeo. He never came out of it. We decided to go to the Rodeo anyway. We knew he'd want us to - "The Show Must Go On". On Sunday morning we received a call at the hotel that Eddie had passed away. I figured he waited for all of us to be gone. Mother, we all love you! And, don't worry. Don's doing a good job - you taught him well.
by Monte Raush circa 1996
And what can you say about Mother? EDDIE SMITH was the person that nominated Rick and I to Gold Rush. The group was always Number One with him! No doubt about it! His passion, and my bull-headedness, for items involving the Team, came to a head more than once. Yeah, he always won! And, Yeah, he was (almost) always right! Eddie was a theater major and brought that talent to the group in many ways. At rehearsals you'd better pay attention to him or you'd pay later. Now, don't get me wrong. Eddie was tough. But, he was also like a "Mother Hen". He'd take you under his wing and help you out any way he could. Be it costuming or choreographing, he was one of the best! It was his imagination and persistence that started the changes in Gold Rush. First, from regular numbers to more specialized ones, and second - and most important - from just another Performance Team - TO A FAMILY. He truly cared about people, and it rubbed off on others. His influence is still with the group today. I have never been with another organization that cared about its members the way Gold Rush does. I know you're up there, Mother, and I can only imagine the dance group you've got going! You've got great talent - and a lot of great talent with you.
Eddie Smith aka Wynonna Jo Bradley; photo taken July 14,1990, in San Francisco
- Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco, CA) Thursday, 13 May 1993