ATTORNEY GREG SMITH is retiring after 45 years in the community. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

Smith to retire after 45 years

Staff Writer
Jennifer Edwards


Jennifer Edwards
staff Writer
“Forty five years goes by fast,” says Monticello Attorney Greg Smith of Big Lake, who plans to retire from the law office he built with partner, Gary Pringle, at the end of the month.
The office is now known as Smith, Paulson, O’Donnell and Associates, located on West 7th Street in Monticello.
Smith is an expert in real estate law but when he first came to town the new partners handled cases of all kinds from criminal law to probate.
“It was a very small town back then,” he recalled. “But it was a great place to raise a family. Now it’s a metropolis.”
Smith was born in Minneapolis and moved out to the bay area of San Fransisco with his parents at the age of four. In 1954, they returned to Minnesota and settled in Golden Valley. Smith graduated from Benilde in 1959, before it joined with St. Margarets, He earned his bachelors degree from St. Thomas.
He met his wife, Barbara Ann and attended law school at Williams Mitchell, going to night school for four years after the birth of his first daughter. A second daughter soon followed.
“My third daughter was born the day I got my bar results,” Smith said. “We had four altogther. One lives in Wyoming.” Smith worked nights and weekends at the new law office to get things going. He lived in Big Lake for a year before moving to Monticello for 24 years. Twenty years ago, he moved back to Big Lake where he still resides.
Monticello, located between the Twin Cities and St. Cloud, has attracted businesses of all sorts.
“Lots of property changed hands over the years and every time it made money,” Smith said. “These days I am mostly doing estate planning and probate. So many of my clients are older now.”
Over the years, Smith saw many changes in the city and worked on arrangements for the nuclear power plant, making the land it sits on part of the city instead of the township.
More recently, he has been working on the litigation between TDS and the City of Monticello over  their fiber optics cable.
“Things are more complicated than they used to be,” he said. “And there is a lot more government intrusion.”
Although he is stepping down, Smith, 72, has already cut back his hours to three days per week, but he will continue to provide services as a consultant two days per week during the transition period.
“I still have some long-term clients,” he said. “And I am still licensed for real estate. I am looking forward to more time off but I do like coming here. I am very blessed to be in this community.”
Smith says he will also miss his secretary, Barb Sherbin, who has worked for him for the past 29 years.
“She is the best hire I have ever made,” said Smith. “She was pregnant with her first child when I hired her. Now she has grandchildren. And I have had wonderful partners and associates.”
With more leisure time at his disposal, Smith says he is looking for a partner to go fishing in the Amazon River with him. He is also interested in traveling to New Zealand.
“I have been able to travel a lot,” he said. “But those are two places I would still like to go.”
There will be a farewell open house to honor Smith at his law office Wed., Oct. 23, from 3 to 6 p.m.


WATERSHED EVENT. Sherburne SWCD Watershed Coordinator Tiffany Determan will host the third-annual Mississippi Watershed Event Thursday, April 24 from 4-7 p.m. in the Monticello Community Center at 505 Walnut St. SWCD staff and experts from state and federal agencies will be on hand to discuss lake and stream renovation projects, and refreshments will be served. (David Hannula photo.)

PAPER TRAIL. Newspapers, tax records, plat books and dozens of other books and printed items in the collection at the Sherburne History Center were highlighted during the "Day at the Museum" tour at the facility last Saturday. One day, the newspapers shown here and many others will be available on a computer screen, SHC officials said, making family historical research a much more convenient process. (David Hannula photo.)

OUTSTANDING FORESTRY AWARD. Sherburne SWCD Conservationist Gina Hugo received this Minnesota Community Forestry Award in March for her work in five urban communities in the previous year. (David Hannula photos.)

POSING FOR A PICTURE WITH THE EASTER BUNNY are Johnny, Olivia, Joe and Jacob O’Brien. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

BRINGING MARCHING BAND TO BIG LAKE is elementary music teacher Megan Chopard-Boge. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).