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Ronald Smith

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Ronald Smith Obituary
POQUOSON - Ronald "Ron" Smith, 81, a NASA project manager and quilting template business owner, died on Saturday, November 22, 2014, at his home . Born in 1933 in Detroit, Michigan to parents Russell and Lillian Smith, he moved to northern California before high school. He served in the Navy as a fire control technician during the Korean War, in active duty from 1952 to 1954. He received a Chemistry degree from San Francisco State, and then moved to Lancaster, CA to work for NASA at Edwards Air Force Base. He also took graduate courses in aerospace at USC and UCLA, specializing in high speed propulsion systems, flight testing and research. In 1974 he moved to Vienna, Virginia to work at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. After a 2 year assignment at Wallops Island, Ron then moved to Poquoson in 1980, where he lived the next 34 years. He finished his NASA career at Langley AFB, retiring in September 1989 after 31 years. He was particularly proud of his involvement with vortex flap, oblique wing, YF-12 and XB-70 research programs, among others. In earlier years Ron was active playing and coaching basketball, golfing, volunteering for the YMCA, and taking hiking trips with the Boy Scouts. He also enjoyed playing chess, reading, and watching car racing and football. From retirement in 1989 until his stroke in 2013, he ran a quilting template business, including manufacturing numerous products and traveling to quilt shows around the country with his wife, JoNell. Ron was known for his gift of gab, storytelling, and humor. Ron leaves his wife of 62 years, JoNell; his three sons, Robert and wife, Karen of Charlotte, NC; Andrew and wife, Sue of Sausalito, CA; and Richard of Poquoson. He has 6 grandchildren, Thomas and Jonathan of Yorktown; Nathaniel of Bremerton, WA; Laura of Charlotte, NC; Melissa of Chapel Hill, NC; and Hannah of Williamsburg, VA; brother, Robert of St. Louis, MO; and sister, Bonnie Murray of St. Helena, MT. He was preceded in death by his parents; and two younger brothers, Raymond and Gary. A graveside service will be held Tuesday, Nov. 25, 10:00 AM, at Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery, Suffolk, with Navy honors. Memorial contributions may be made to www.youcaring.com/ronsmith . Online condolences to claytorrollins.com . Claytor Rollins Funeral Home, Poquoson, is in charge of arrangements.
Published in Daily Press from Nov. 23 to Nov. 24, 2014
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