BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. -- Richard M. "Dick" Smith, 85, former longtime resident of Sikeston, Mo., passed away peacefully Oct. 5, 2002, in Boca Raton, with his immediate family at his side.
Born in 1917, at St. Joseph, he was a graduate of the University of Missouri at Columbia, Mo., where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. In 1941, Dick was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was selected for naval flight training as a pilot and earned his Naval Aviator Wings of Gold in February 1942. Dick served his country during World War II as a Marine Corps pilot, flying missions in the Pacific. In 1943, Dick was reassigned as second in command at the Marine Corps Air Station in El Centro, Calif., where he served as an air gunnery and bombardier flight instructor. While on active military duty, Dick earned the rank of major. Because of his love for flying, Dick served as the inspiration for both his oldest son, Richard Smith Jr., formerly of Sikeston, and his grandson, Matthew T. Smith, to carry on the navy tradition and family legacy by following in his footsteps to create three consecutive generations of naval aviators. Following the war, Dick entered into private business, owning and operating the Superior Office Supply Co., a former Sikeston business, for many years. During this time, Dick was married to the late Kate H. Smith. Later in life, Dick fulfilled his lifelong love of the arts and transitioned to a career in academia. After earning his master's degree at Washington University in St. Louis, he served as an educator at both the high school and college levels. He taught art history, painting and photography at various academic institutions, most recently as a professor at Palm Beach Community College in Lake Worth, where he retired after 11 years in 1982.
Dick was a Godly man with a Christ-like spirit. He was man of honor, integrity and character. He loved life, people and nature. He was an avid reader, photographer, golfer, world traveler and a talented and accomplished artist. Dick was a humble and caring servant and longtime volunteer at Bethesda Hospital in Boynton Beach. He was a loyal and faithful husband, loving father and proud grandfather and great-grandfather. Dick touched the hearts of many and enriched their lives in a very special way. Most importantly, he loved the Lord and had committed his heart and life to Jesus Christ. In this life, he was a member of the Royal Palm Presbyterian Church in Lake Worth, where he worshiped and fellowshiped with other Christians. In his eternal life, he now lives and reigns in glory with his Savior and Heavenly Father.
Survivors include: his loving and devoted wife of 30 years, Dorothy Smith of the home; six honored children, Clara Traxler of Jackson, Richard Smith Jr. of Charlotte, N.C., Frank E. Smith of Sikeston, David Longenecker of Miami, Bob Longenecker of Danville, Calif., Jim Longenecker of Lake Worth; and six proud grandchildren, Katie Weems, Richard Smith and Seth Smith of Sikeston, Matthew T. Smith and Christian M. Smith of Charlotte and Ashley Lipke of Jackson; and two great-grandchildren, Madalyn Weems of Sikeston and Parker Lipke of Jackson.
Memorial services were held Oct. 8 at the Royal Palm Presbyterian Church.
Memorial contributions may be sent to
The Hospice and Homecare
by the Sea 1531 W. Palmetto Park Road
Boca Raton, FL 33432
Royal Palm Presbyterian Church
6348 Hypoluxo Road
Lake Worth, FL 33461