1930 - 2012
Hugh James Smith, beloved father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and cousin, died peacefully on December 19, 2012. He spent his last hours in the care of his daughter and the wonderful staff of Emerson House, a memory care facility in Portland, Oregon.
Hugh was born on July 30, 1930 in Hempstead, Texas. His parents were Julia E. Turney Smith of Simpson, Nebraska and Hulen E. Smith of Waller County, Texas. He is survived by his daughter Hilary C. Smith Meehan, son-in-law Phil Meehan, grandson Sean P. Meehan, sister Nancy Smith Russ, brother-in-law David Russ, nephews Mike and Brian Russ, niece Nancy Russ and cousins Helen and Turney Crawford.
Ever industrious, Hugh attended the University of Texas at Austin from 1950-1954. In 1952, as the conflict in Korea continued to intensify, he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force (Reserve) ROTC (Sqaudron G / Flight 1). During his remaining two years at UT, Hugh served as Adjutant Recorder Officer for the Arnold Air Society, a professional, honorary organization with the mission to build strong officers for the United States Air Force. Additionally, he was a member of the Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity. In 1954 he graduated university with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Shortly afterwards, he was honorably discharged from active duty having achieved the rank of 1st Lieutenant, USAF (Reserve). For his service during the Korean War, Hugh received a National Defense Service Medal. He remained in the USAF Reserve until 1967.
Shortly after Hugh's graduation from college he joined the ranks of IBM, the company for which he traveled the world installing some of the very first computers to be utilized by U.S. military institutions. In the 1970's he assisted IBM's San Francisco based legal team during Memorex's highly publicized suit against the company. Additionally, he lived and worked in both the Washington DC and New York areas. He retired from IBM in 1992.
Hugh valued justice and fortitude, notions epitomized by the lives of his heroes, President Abraham Lincoln and Madam Elena Skriabina, his Russian language teacher. He balanced this seriousness of character with a strong love of the finer pleasures in life: music, art, cultural exploration, food, wine and laughter. He was particularly happy when he shared these pleasures with his family and friends whom he adored and to whom he remained unfailingly loyal. A man of some mystery, his strong ethical center-point guided both himself and many of those he has left behind. His daughter wishes nothing more than to uphold these values in her own life and to teach them to her son. Hugh was a generous, loving man and a wonderful father. He will be sorely missed.
Out of resepect for Hugh's sense of propriety and humility his remains will be interred beside those of his parents at a small Methodist cemetery in a small Texas town. Tribute donations may be made in Hugh's name to the
onate.asp) or via telephone at 800.272.3900.
Published on NYTimes.com from December 31, 2012 to January 1, 2013