Richard “Dick” W. Smith, 76, of Florida, passed away peacefully Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, in the morning hours at McGraw Hospice, after a short illness.
He was born in Lafayette, Ind., on Dec. 1, 1937, the eldest child of Hansel Jay Smith and Virginia Ellen VanCleve Smith. After graduating from High School in West Mansfield in 1955, he attended Miami University in Oxford and graduated in 1959 with a bachelor of arts degree in economics.
While at Miami, he joined Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and was very proud to be a member. His freshman year, he attended a sorority dance as a blind date with Linda Ekberg and they went together until his senior year when they went their separate ways.
He worked in Ohio for a few years and then went to Florida and graduated from University of Florida in 1965 with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering. He then moved to Jacksonville and worked at Register and Cummings Engineers; Jacksonville Port Authority as aviation engineer, director of aviation and manager of special projects; Ward Koutnik Associates, Demetree Bros. Inc. as project director and owner’s agent in North Carolina for the Reichhold Chemicals headquarters.
In 1994, his paths cross with that 1956 blind date and they were married in 1998 in south Florida and lived in Ft. Lauderdale. While there, he had two tours to Lithuania as an IESC volunteer to assist in development of a civil airport by converting a military facility.
After retiring, Dick and Linda enjoyed traveling the world on ocean cruises and river cruises in Europe. He had been in many cities during his working years and enjoyed taking Linda to places she had not been to.
Among his hobbies were reading, golfing and especially the NYT crossword puzzle.
While living in Ft. Lauderdale they attended all the games of the Florida Marlins and Miami Dolphins. After moving back to Jacksonville in 2004, he enjoyed the Jaguar and Gator games and attended several when they were in town.
He is survived by his wife, Linda; her children, Debbie Blau (Doug M.) Lenz of Scottsdale, Ariz., Douglas E. Blau (Tia) of Davie, Fla., and Dianna M. Blau of Atlanta; grandchildren, Jeff, Matt, Adrianna and Andrew Lenz and Trevor Blau; his brother, Charles “Mike” (Mary) of Albuquerque, N.M.; sister, Sue Ellen Carpenter of West Mansfield and Gulf Shores, Ala.; several nieces and nephews; and former wife, Laura, and their two adopted children, Carolyne and Russel.
The vigil is from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday with Rosary at 7 p.m. at Corey-Kerlin Funeral Home, 940 Cesery Blvd., Jacksonville, Fla. A Mass of Christian Burial is celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday at Resurrection Catholic Church, 3383 N. University Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32277, with the Rev. Steven Zehler celebrant. Interment is at a later date.
Sincere thanks to ICU staff at Baptist Downtown Hospital and McGraw Community Hospice Center.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Miami University, 1959 Scholarship Fund, 926 Chestnut Lane, Oxford, OH 45046; and Resurrection Catholic Church, in care of Fr. Zehler.