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Montana: Community garden “watchman” memorialized with mural

Photo by Rebekah Welch.

If a sprinkler wasn’t working or a lock needed replacing at the Garden of Eaton community garden, Frank Smith was there to do it.

By Matt Neuman
Sep 30, 2017


“He was the watchman here,” Zuuring said. “He was always out here making sure the sprinklers were working, and chasing away any kids that were stealing tomatoes. If there was a problem with something, he wouldn’t say a word, he’d just fix it.”

From his house just outside the fence of the garden, Smith kept a watchful eye, and always found a reason to tend his plot if someone else dropped by the garden. His daughter, Janetta Brewer, said the garden was his favorite place to socialize.

“He’d come piddle around like he was doing things, but really he just came down to talk,” Brewer said. “He’d look around his garden for a couple minutes, then make his rounds to chat and make comments on the other gardens. He certainly had his opinions about everyone else’s plot.”

Smith grew up on a farm in North Dakota, served in the Army during World War II in Japan, and worked for the railroad in Laurel, Montana. He moved to Missoula after retiring to be closer to his two daughters.

Read the complete article here.