NEDERLAND, Colo. (CBS4)– There’s starting to be quite a collection of front-loaders, bulldozers, and excavators near Barker Reservoir in Nederland. They are staging for a funeral procession of beloved local Mark Smith.
“He meant a lot to everybody up here,” said lifelong friend Steve McCollum. “Every time you’d seen him he was smiling. I don’t think Mark Smith had a bad day and everyone around here, he was just a big smiling teddy bear.”
Mark Smith passed away on Sunday after a battle with cancer. As the community gathered to help plan his funeral and celebration of life it became obvious a parade was needed, too.
“Everyone is getting involved, it’s actually really unique to see even just the support. just setting everything up,” McCollum said.
About 40 to 50 pieces of heavy equipment will parade through Nederland around 11 a.m. on Saturday.
“It’s more of a funeral procession but we’re going to have his ashes in the dump truck,” said McCollum. “He loved heavy equipment, if you go up to his house he’s got old dozers and tractors and everything you can imagine, so we thought this was a great way to honor him.”
Smith retired last year after working for more than 40 years for the Boulder County Roads Department. He didn’t just work on roads, he loved everything about it. He’d frequently check in on other excavation jobs, and had an extensive collection of heavy equipment. His expertise led him to be a vital source for friends and neighbors around town.
“It just seems that people aren’t like that anymore,” said McCollum. “To have somebody that was that willing to give and he’d help anybody out.”
Another friend described Smith as “Larger than life” and capable of fixing any problem.
“He was always the one out there to help everybody else. It’s a tragic loss really, for the community,” McCollum said.
On Saturday, Feb. 16 at 11 a.m., everyone is invited to celebrate the life of Mark Smith in a parade in downtown Nederland. Set up is at 10 a.m. and heavy equipment is encouraged.
At 1 p.m., there will be a service at Saint Rita’s Catholic Church. At 3 p.m. there will be a celebration of life at the Nederland Community Center.