Loved ones honor the life of Rochester’s Ethan Smith

Loved ones honor the life of Ethan Smith who died in a plane crash Tuesday,
Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 6:23 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Family and friends of two Rochester men are grieving after a devastating accident earlier this week. Tuesday, the men were killed in a plane crash near Red Wing after leaving Rochester.

One of them was 20-year-old Ethan Smith, a 2020 Lourdes High School graduate and an aspiring commercial pilot.

Smith will be remembered by many within the Rochester community and beyond.

“He was nothing but kind, incredibly respectful, absolutely loved by all of his teammates. He had just an incredible work ethic about him,” Former Lourdes Boys Hockey coach Joe Knoepke said.

“I was like an older brother to him, especially at the golf course. It’s going to be tough to replace that and get that with anyone else,” Smith’s friend and former teammate Jared Anderson said.

His passing weighs heavily on his high school hockey team which is almost more like a family to players and coaches.

“I think when a young person passes like this in such a tragic way, it really hits home for a lot of people,” Lourdes Boys Hockey head coach Jeff True said.

Ethan made a strong impact on his coaches by showing up everyday to work hard for his team.

“He would always want to ask questions like, “Hey coach, what did I do wrong there? What could I do different? I think it’s just his desire to get better and be there for his teammates. He took everything in stride. I can’t express how rare this is in a quality in a human being. Everything was, “Thank you, Coach,” Knoepke said.

Coaches say his dedication and maturity is rare to find in not only athletes but people in general.

“Ethan would be a kid that I would say embodies what I wish I would have had more of at that age,” Knoepke said.

“It’s just not that common with high school athletes, so the more characters you have, it just builds such a strong team chemistry and culture within the program,” True said.

Ethan’s mindset devoted mindset translated off of the rink and into his everyday life with his friends who say he was always trying to brighten up their days.

“He was a guy that would do anything for anyone, he would go out of his way. Even if you knew he couldn’t do it, he’d put his best foot forward and give it everything he had to get close to that goal or that thing that you wanted him to do,” Anderson said.

People have been sharing Ethan’s story online with the caption fly high Ethan to represent not only his passion for flying, but also to serve as a reminder to go after your dreams like Ethan did.

“Continue to do your best, shoot for the stars and reach for your goals, because that’s what Ethan was doing with his life,” True said.

Friday, there will be a moment of silence to honor Ethan’s life at the Lourdes football game at 7 at the RCTC Stadium.