January 5, 1924 - May 15, 2012 EDMOND Vard Vernon Smith Sr., "Smitty", 88, of Oklahoma City, OK, died unexpectedly on May 15, 2012 after an extended hospital stay for a collapsed lung. Born Jan. 5, 1924, the second son of Samuel Owen Smith and Louise Emaline Arnold in Kirkland, WA. Vard grew up in the Puget Sound area of Washington State where he came to respect and enjoy the great outdoors. He attended North Kitsap High School and served as Senior Class President. He was a talented running back on his high school football team and was made Captain of the team. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Vard found it to be his patriotic duty to enlist to help the American war effort. Joining the Army Air Corp he served in the 697 Bomb Squadron 410th Bomb Group as an Airplane Armorer. He participated in campaigns in Normandy, N. France, Germany, Europe Air Offensive, Ardennes, Cen. Europe and N. Africa. During part of his training in Oklahoma he met the love of his life Myrtle J. Johnsen at the Rocket Skating Rink. After the end of WWII Vard returned to Oklahoma City, and married Myrtle in June of 1946. After their wedding the couple started their new life together in Bremerton, WA. They later moved to Kodiak, AK living there for 10 years. They also lived in Salt Lake City, UT for a time before returning to settle in Oklahoma City. During most of his life Vard worked as a civil servant for the Navy and FAA Retiring after 35 years of service. He also served in the Naval Reserve for 30 years as a Seabee and achieved the rank of Senior Chief Equipment Operator. Vard was a Master Mason raised at Uriah Lodge Wheatland, OK, and became a 32nd Degree Mason at McAlester Consistory. He also was a member of the India Shrine Temple where he served on the Hospital Staff, Commander of the Legion of Honor and a member of the Caledonians Pipe Group. He spent many of his retired days as a driver taking needy children to the Shrine Hospital and Burn Centers for treatment. In his later years Dad cared for Mom until her passing in 2005. After that he spent most of his days visiting his children and enjoying grandchildren. Dad was always a quiet man who enjoyed the great outdoors. He spent many hours over the years in duck blinds, in fishing boats, and enjoying the general comradery of other sportsman. He was a loving husband and father who cared for many people and made friends easily without hesitation. He will always be remembered in our hearts and memories and will be missed by all of us. Vard was preceded in death by his parents, beloved wife, brother Victor and sister, Barbara Dahl. He is survived by his two daughters, Valerie Lesko, Vicky Rabon, and his son Vard Jr., two sons-in-law, 1 daughter-in-law, 8 grandchildren their spouses, 7 great grandchildren. Funeral Services will be 2PM on Monday the 21st of May at Hahn-Cook/Street & Draper followed by a Graveside Service at Rose Hill Cemetery. Visitation is available at Hahn-Cook/Street & Draper daily until 9PM.
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Published in The Oklahoman on May 20, 2012