Capt. William "Mel" Smith, Jr., USN Ret.
October 26, 1929 June 2, 2014
Mel was born in Los Angeles to William Melbury Smith and Catherine "Toy" Gallagher. He was always positive, committed to family, friends, community and country. He met his wife Alice growing up in Pasadena in 1940; they married in 1964. They would have celebrated their 50th anniversary in September.
Mel grew up with younger brothers Dan and Jim in San Marino and Pasadena, graduating from Flintridge Prep in 1947. He went on to Colorado College where he joined Beta Theta Pi fraternity and received a BS degree in Civil Engineering in 1952. He received his MS from Caltech in 1953 and then enlisted in the Navy.
He reported to Navy Officer's Candidate School in May 1955 after which he was assigned to Hawaii as his first station. His Navy tour sent him throughout the Pacific Islands, the Philippines, and to Alaska. His last active duty assignment was in San Diego through 1959. He then continued as a Reservist with the Seabees for 30 years and retired as a Captain in 1985.
Mel had a variety of jobs over his life that gave him great pride. He was able to build a bridge in San Diego, still standing and used today. He went to Idaho to work on a storage facility for nuclear rods. He even traveled to the Seychelles Islands to build officer's quarters for the Air Force base. The last 13 years of his career were spent at JPL and he greatly enjoyed his projects there.
Mel had many interests. He and his wife Alice were very active in AFS exchange programs and AYSO soccer. Together they coached their children's teams from ages 5-17 and Mel went on to coach girl's soccer at Marshall Fundamental High School. He was actively involved in Kiwanis for over 50 years and developed strong ties with the Key Club at Marshall. He was a member of Pasadena First Congregational Church since 1965. He was also a member of the Tournament of Roses for 30 years. In retirement, he took up square dancing, watercolor painting and genealogy.
Mel was a loving father and is survived by his wife Alice and two children: Steven Smith (Mary) in W. Terre Haute, IN, Carolyn Mueller (John) in Burbank, CA; grandson Evan Mueller, step-granddaughter Holly Curtsinger (Kyle) and great-grandkids, twins, Piper and Mitchell.
Funeral Service - 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10 at First Congregational Church UCC, 464 E. Walnut Ave., Pasadena with a reception to follow in the parlors.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Pasadena Kiwanis Club for the Mel and Alice Smith Scholarship Fund.
Published in Pasadena Star-News from June 5 to June 10, 2014