SMITH, Warren G. A sixty-year resident of Spokane, Washington Warren Gilbert Smith died at his Olympia home on December 1, 2010, age 87. He was born in Provo, Utah October 24, 1923. His father and mother were Jack and Eva Smith. During his youth, the family lived in several locations in Utah and Wyoming, settling in Rock Springs, Wyoming where Warren graduated Rock Springs High School in 1942. He worked until enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps, where he was assigned as flight engineer and top turret gunner, flying B-17s with the 401st Bombardment Group. On his first mission his aircraft was shot down over northern Germany. He was taken as a prisoner of war, spending six weeks in hospital and nine months in prison camps, missing in action, until being liberated in May 1945. On October 24, 1945 he was discharged from the Army Air Corps with the rank of Sergeant. He was awarded a Purple Heart. Returning to Rock Springs, Warren worked for United Airlines and learned to fly a single-engine Cessna. One of the great joys of his life was the freedom of flying in blue skies over the uncluttered landscape of Wyoming. On February 9, 1947 he married Frances Margaret Usenichnik. They started a family and in 1951 were transferred by United Airlines to Spokane, Washington. Warren was devoted to family life. He loved to tinker in his workshop, build fences in the yard or doll furniture for his girls. Whenever he had days off he took the family camping, fishing, ice-skating, sledding, or driving to explore the West. He and Frannie loved to dance. Be it jitterbug, waltz or polka, they would be on their feet. Throughout their lives they traveled to wherever there were friends, family or polka festivals to enjoy. At the time of his death Warren was survived by Frances, his wife of 64 years (now deceased); by daughters and son-in-law, Jan and Tom Livingston, Anchorage, Alaska; Nancy Wright, Olympia, Washington; grandchildren, Lewis and Anna Marie Wright, Annie Livingston; and great-grandsons, Jonah and Kaden Wright; as well as sisters, Darlene Wells, Noreen Nelson; and sister-in-law, Leah Hooton. He is loved and missed by many Hootons, Cleggs, Shiflars and lifelong friends all over the country. A celebration of his life was held at his Olympia residence on December 14, 2010.
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Published in Spokesman-Review on Mar. 16, 2014