William “Bill” Smith, 97, long time resident of Vashon Island, lately at The Kenney in West Seattle, entered God’s heavenly kingdom on September 12th. He was born to Bryan & Vivian Smith on November 27, 1925, in Red Oak, Iowa.
Bill, the most loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather, is survived by daughter Stephanie Findley (Jim), sons Craig and Dave, grandchildren Nicholas, Christopher, Abigail,BryanandNatalie andgreat-grandchildrenIsaac,Desirae, and Aislee. Nieces Karen Johnson and Dee Pratt were especially close to him. He also had warm relationships with all his nieces and nephews. His dear wife of 72 years, Hazel, preceded him in death. Ray & Edith Aspiri were life-long friends and their families shared many vacations and adventures. Marge and Dave Hiner were long time hiking and travel partners.
When Bill was four years old the family travelled from Red Oak in a horse drawn wagon to homestead in Cook County, Wyoming. Growing up on the sage brush prairie during the depression gave him an appreciation for frugality. When Bill was 12, the family moved into the town of Moorcroft so brother Jack, and eventually Bill and sister Joanne could attend high school.
In 1942, Bill at 17, made it out to Bremerton to weld in the shipyards and soon enlisted in the Navy. He was an electrician on a troop ship which landed Marines at Iwo Jima. He was aboard ship at anchor in Tokyo Bay for the surrender ceremony. After an honorable discharge he attended the University of Wyoming, where he received a degree in physics and met Hazel, the love of his life. They were married, moved to Chicago where Bill earned his master’s in physics from Northwestern. After Chicago the couple moved to Seattle and Bill started his 39-year career withBoeing. While working at Boeing he picked up another master’s degree, in aeronautical engineering.
A man of many interests and keen intellect, he enjoyed beekeeping, gardening, ballroom dancing, camping and hiking. In the 70s Bill became a health food nut. He juiced carrots, picked huckleberries by the gallon, drank wheat germ and eschewed conventional medicine. All of which were complemented by years and years of chopping wood at their island home.
He took the family on many adventures, the greatest of which was a horseback and canoe trip tracing Hudson Bay surveyor David Thompson’s activities through Howse Pass to the source of the Columbia River in British Columbia. The kids were 11, 7, and 6 at the time.
Bill supported his children and grandchildren in all their activities, attending endless sporting events, horse camps, stage performances. He was involved. Bill and Hazel were active members of Bethel Evangelical Free Church for 50 years. A man of faith and truth, tempered by science and research.
A private graveside service will be held at Vashon Cemetery.