Born: January 31, 1851, Rock County, Wisconsin.
Died: July 6, 1929, Albert Lea, Minnesota.
Buried: Lakewood Cemetery, Albert Lea, Minnesota.
Smeby attended Luther College, Decorah, Iowa (AB 1871) and Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis, Missouri (1871–74).
He was ordained in 1874 in the Norwegian Synod of the Lutheran Church, and served as pastor at Albert Lea, Minnesota (1874–1920).
He also taught at the Luther Academy in Albert Lea (1888–1904).
He was secretary of the Iowa District of the Norwegian Synod (1895–1907), and district vice-president (1907–13).
He served on the committee to prepare English hymnals for the synod: Christian Hymns (1896–98) and the Lutheran Hymnary (1908–13). He translated many hymns, as well.