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Ralph Leftwich Smith Jr.

SMITH, JR., Ralph Leftwich Ralph Leftwich Smith passed away August 18, 2008 in Los Angeles, California at the age of 83. He was born October 23, 1924 in Kansas City, Missouri and was the youngest of three children born to Ralph L. Smith and Harriet T. Smith. He graduated from Yale University with a PhD in physics and was a veteran of the U. S. Army. He married Mary Louise Case in 1951 and moved to Southern California that same year. They had three children, Elizabeth Beemer Smith, Stephen Case Smith and Neil Tomlinson Smith. His first job was working for Howard Hughes in Culver City. He spent many years working on Einstein's Theory before going into the aerospace industry. Ralph had many hobbies and accomplishments throughout his life. He taught himself to play the piano and when he wasn't doing that, we could find him in our basement with his ham radio contacting people from all over the world. He built his own telescope, and we have many fond memories of family and friends in our back yard learning about astronomy first hand. He had his private pilot's license and owned an airplane which he enjoyed flying around Southern California. He flew solo from California to Connecticut in the early 60's, which he was very proud of. He owned a boat and dreamed of sailing to Hawaii on his own. Ralph was the inventor of Bi-Skates, one of the first two-wheeled, in-line roller skates which he initially developed for hockey players to practice with off the ice. Later on in life, Ralph also found the time and interest to act and sing in over 25 stage performances throughout Northern and Southern California. Ralph was a loving son, brother, uncle, husband, father and grandfather. His sense of humor, love of science and math, magic tricks, and adventure will be missed by all those who knew him. He was predeceased in death by his parents; son, Stephen Case Smith; sister, Anne Douthat; and nephew, Marsh Douthat. He is survived by his sister, Margaret Denison; first wife, Mary C. Smith; and current wife, Jeanene B. Smith; along with his daughter, Elizabeth; son and daughter in-law, Neil and Cindi Smith; his granddaughter, Alexandra Anne Smith; and two nieces and three nephews. A private service for the immediate family will be held. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to the Alzheimer's Association in Chicago, Illinois.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 27, 2008
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