Randolph "Randy" Smith

Obituary
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    - Doreen Milligan

Randolph Lee "Randy" Smith, 91, died peacefully Dec. 18, 2009, at his home in Anchorage.

A viewing will be from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday at Kehl's Legacy Funeral Home, 11621 Old Seward Highway. A memorial service will be at 6 p.m. at Chapel by the Sea, 14730 Turnagain Bluff Way. Final interment will be in the Fort Richardson National Cemetery.

Randy was born Oct. 21, 1918, in Chivington, Colo., to Ora and Margarite Smith.

When Randy was 6 or 7, the family of six moved to Hutchinson, Kan., where he graduated from Hutchinson High School in 1936. While in school he was active on the wrestling and swim/dive teams and wood shop.

On March 16, 1941, Randy was inducted into the U.S. Army at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Assigned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 43rd Engineering Company, he spent his tour of duty in Australia and New Guinea building runways. Honorably discharged in 1945, he settled in Santa Ana, Calif., with relatives while he worked to finish his carpentry apprenticeship. At a local roller skating rink, he met his future wife, Juanita Coots; they were married 61 years until her death on Jan. 12, 2009.

In 1949, the couple moved to 20 acres in Arkansas on the shores of a new lake formed by the completion of Bull Shoals Dam; they hoped to build a small vacation resort. An economic downturn forced the couple and their two children to move several times. In 1957, the family settled in Yucca Valley, Calif., where Randy worked as foreman for a local contractor.

Randy found his first piece of gold while serving in Australia; his "gold fever" meant family vacations in the Motherlode region of Northern California. Finally, during the fall of 1972, Randy and Juanita headed to Alaska for a one-year working vacation during which he planned to spend weekends panning for gold. Anchorage became home for the next 37 years.

Randy was a member of Chapel by the Sea and acting foreman during the construction of the chapel's new sanctuary in the late 1980s. He helped Juanita with her arts and crafts and was also a member of Gallery 20.

Randy is survived by a daughter, Doreen Milligan of San Diego, Calif.; and a son, Marti Smith of Anchorage. He also leaves four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Funeral Home
Legacy Funeral Homes & Cremation Services - Kehl's Chapel
11621 Old Seward Highway
Anchorage, AK 99515
(907) 344-1497
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Published in Anchorage Daily News from Dec. 22 to Dec. 23, 2009