Here's How Beth Chapman Lost Her Beloved Dad Two Months before Beth and Duane's Wedding

Odette Odendaal
Jun 07, 2019
02:52 P.M.
Share this pen

Bounty hunters Beth and Duane “Dog” Chapman seem as in love years after, as the day they first wed in 2006. But their love story had a dramatic and tragic start for them both.


Set to get married on May 20, 2006, Beth received devastating news two months before their wedding. Her 68-year-old father, Garry “Pops” Smith, passed away on Tuesday, February 28, 2006, the New York Post reported.


His battle with heart disease and diabetes came to an end in his home town of Denver, Colorado after he suffered associated complications. “Pop”s frequently appeared on the first two seasons of “Dog The Bounty Hunter” and became a loveable father figure to fans.

But to Beth, nothing meant more to her than her father. “To me, he was my garage sale buddy my burger joint partner ice cream eater green chili maker and my best friend, but mostly he is my dad, and he's always with me!” she wrote in a 2016 Father’s Day tribute to her father.


An ex-professional baseball player, “Pops” worked for Allied for 25 years before he retired and became a Bail Bondsman alongside Beth and Duane.

Garry’s funeral got held on March 6, 2006, in Lakewood, Colorado and later on, in his honor, Beth and Duane named their son after him.

Sadly, with Beth’s wedding only weeks away, she knew her father wouldn’t be there to walk her down the aisle, but another tragic incident struck the night before their nuptials.

On the Friday night before Duane and Beth’s Saturday, May 20 wedding, Duane’s 23-year-old daughter, Barbara Katy Chapman got killed in a car accident close to her Fairbanks home in Alaska, the senior vice president of A&E television network, Michael Feeney said.


"There is no clue as to why they left the roadway," Alaska State Trooper Jeremy Stone said, according to The Washington Post. "There are absolutely no skid marks on the road. They just went off the road, hit an embankment, and launched."

The family then consulted with a preacher and decided to celebrate Barbara’s life at the wedding ceremony, and their wedding at the Hilton hotel on Waikoloa Village in Hawaii went forward as planned.


As one of the bounty hunter’s 12 children, Barbara is survived by her son Travis Drake-Lee and her mother, Lyssa Green.

A decade later, Beth’s throat cancer diagnosis changed their lives forever. She received her initial stage II cancer diagnosis in September 2017 but went into remission until it returned in November 2018.

Doctors found the tumor after a blockage compromised Beth’s breathing and Duane rushed her to the hospital. According to TMZ, doctors had to perform an emergency operation “to remove a life-threatening blockage” from Beth’s throat.


A month later Beth decided to return to the place closest to her heart, her home state of Colorado. Having undergone several rounds of chemotherapy since her diagnosis, Beth decided to stop according to People.

In May 2019, the publication reported that during a speech at the Source Church in Bradenton, Fla., on Mother’s Day, Beth said, "Chemotherapy is not my bag, people. Sorry, that's not for me."


An Instagram post by Beth on February 2019 revealed that she is open to alternative cancer therapies. "We need to all be far more open-minded to new treatments," she wrote. "We no longer need to poison patients to get them well. #cancersucks."

Later on, in May 2019, Duane and Beth celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary. Beth took to Instagram in tribute to the memorable day and shared throwback pictures of their island wedding.