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Owen R. Smith Jr.


1922 - 2014 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Owen R. Smith Jr. Obituary
Owen R. Smith, Jr.
February 11, 1922 - July 7, 2014
Resident of Castro Valley
Owen Royle Smith, Jr. gave up the good fight on July 7, 2014 at age 92. Born in 1922 to Ethel and Owen Smith, Sr., Owen's early years were spent in his hometown of Milford, UT, where he found a notable variety of odd jobs to help get through tough economic times. Upon graduation from Milford High School he enlisted in the US Navy, quickly entering the thick of WW II. During his years of service he rose to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer, seeing some of Europe but mostly serving in the Pacific Theater. It was there in 1941 that Owen survived the attack on Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Phoenix, and later participated in the Occupation of Japan.
After the war Owen attended the University of Utah on the GI Bill, majoring in Banking and Economics. It was there he met Erma Smith, his future wife of 62 years. They made a life together in California, where he eventually started Cascade Pool and Ski Center in Castro Valley, providing employment and mentorship for many young people. He was a committed member of the Castro Valley Rotary Club, serving as President in 1961. His business experiences fueled a lifelong interest in free enterprise and limited role of government. After retirement he couldn't help buying another business, remaining Chairman of the Board of Nutek Corporation until the last year of his life.
Owen and Erma traveled the world, and engaged in many civic and philanthropic ventures. He was an emeritus board member of the Eden Medical Foundation, where he served for many years. Together Owen and Erma founded the Smith Center for Private Enterprise Studies at Cal State East Bay. They strongly supported the Castro Valley Center for the Performing Arts, as well as many other local and international charities. In his spare time Owen liked reading market reports and murder mysteries, along with drinking very hot coffee and martinis.
Owen Smith is survived by Erma and his three children, each of whom was his favorite: Chere Smith Villines (Lex), Tracy Smith, and Kelly Smith Cole (Mark). All six grandchildren, Nicole Shaw (Darrick), Trevor Ohlson, Amy Johnstad (Chris), Emily Villines, Rebecca Cole, and Jonathan Cole, as well as great-grandchildren Livia Shaw and Jax Shaw, enjoyed many years with Grandpa Owen. He is also survived by brother Al Smith and many nieces and nephews who will miss his humor, stories, and amazing resilience.
Rest in peace, Owen Smith, our honored husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, friend, and patriot, one of the greatest generation.
Friends and family are invited to attend a celebratory memorial service at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, July 16, at First Presbyterian Church of Hayward. Interment will take place before the service at 12:30 pm, at Lone Tree Cemetery in Hayward. In lieu of flowers, family suggests donations be made to Castro Valley Rotary Club, Eden Medical Center Foundation, or the Castro Valley Arts Foundation.
Acacia Cremation and Burial Society
(925) 775-4462
Published in East Bay Times on July 13, 2014
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