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201 25th Ave North
Nashville, TN 37203
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C. Mel SMITH Obituary

SMITH, P.E., C. Mel Age 83, passed away on the 22nd of February 2013. A native of Nashville, TN, Mel graduated in 1955 from Vanderbilt University's School of Engineering with a B.E. Degree, after serving four years in the U.S. Navy. He was a licensed Professional Engineer in the states of New York, Tennessee and North Carolina. Mel's engineering-construction experience began in 1955 when he joined J. M. Gallagher Company, a large Nashville mechanical contracting company where he served as Mechanical Project Manager on numerous local projects. In 1958, Mel moved his family to Karachi, Pakistan where for the next five years, he was Department Head, Mechanical Engineering Department of Oman-Farnsworth-Wright (OFW). The Karachi office of OFW provided estimating, bidding, purchasing and engineering for numerous projects in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan. Returning to the U. S. in 1963, Mel was in charge of the Mechanical Engineering Department for the Oroville Dam Constructors on the Oroville California Dam (the world's tallest earth filled dam - 732 ft.). In late 1964, Mel was promoted to Chief Mechanical Engineer of OFW and, moved to their headquarters in Nashville, where he was responsible for estimating, purchasing and engineering for projects in Afghanistan, the Azores, and Panama, in addition to providing detail estimates for other joint venture projects. In April 1969, Mel founded Mechanical Systems Inc. (MSI) of Nashville, TN. He was instrumental in founding eight other companies in the Middle and Far East. The majority interest in these companies, except the Saudi company, was sold to United Engineers PTE Ltd. of Singapore in 1984. After 20 years of actively pursuing construction work, MSI completed its last construction project in Saudi Arabia, and in 1994, closed the Saudi offices. Mel then concentrated his efforts on Sigma International Corporation, a company he created in 1984 for the purpose of providing export marketing for a number of U.S. manufacturers engaged in the environmental consulting and equipment business. Sigma continues to operate under the supervision of his children today. Mel was a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers and served on several of its National committees; a member and Past President of the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers and served as chairman of the State section of the "Engineers in Construction" for several years; he was a member of the Society of American Military Engineers, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers, the American Water Works Association, and the International Ozone Association. He was also a member of the Chamber of Commerce, a Life member of the Sertoma Club, a member of St. Henry Catholic Church, and a Third Degree Knight of Columbus. Mel married Rita McNamee Smith in 1956. He enjoyed Vanderbilt baseball, playing golf and being a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Rita M. Smith; brothers, James A. Smith (Theresa), Marietta, GA, Thomas J. Smith (Joann) Baltimore, MD, Milton F. Smith, Columbia, PA and Barbara A. Labriola, Norristown, PA; son, Roger L. Smith (Susan); daughters, Lisa C. Frith (Randall), Melanie L. Smith and Paul K. Smith (Barbara); grandchildren, J. Chase Frith, Katie R. Frith, Nicholas O. Smith, Patrick M. Jones, Natalie D. Smith, Becky E. Smith and great-grandchildren, Caden Frith and Adalyn Jones. Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from four o'clock in the afternoon until seven o'clock in the evening on Monday, the 25th of February, with a Rosary service at seven o'clock, at Marshall-Donnelly-Combs Funeral Home. A Funeral Mass will be Celebrated at eleven- thirty on Tuesday at St. Henry Catholic Church, with Rev. Michael Johnston, Celebrant. In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial donations may be made to St. Pius Catholic School.


Published in The Tennessean on Feb. 24, 2013
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