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Dorothy Smith


1917 - 2019 Obituary Condolences
Dorothy Smith Obituary
Dorothy Smith
July 21, 1917 - December 17, 2018
Resident of San Jose
Longtime Los Gatos / San Jose resident Dorothy A. Smith passed away December 17, 2018 due to natural causes. She was born July 21, 1917 and was 101 years old.
Her life experiences spanned over 9 decades that were comprised of humble beginnings, challenges and hard work.
Her family moved to Los Gatos from Peru, Nebraska in 1868. Dorothy was born in Los Gatos at home at 112 University Ave. She went to grammar school in the building that is now known as "Old Town" on University Ave. At a young age the Alford family settled in Chemeketa Park in a house that is still there to this day. She had five siblings and money was thin and as such Dorothy made most of her own clothes while attending Los Gatos High School. She became an accomplished seamstress. Occasionally she would walk to school via the half pipe covered flue that transported the town's drinking water from the Santa Cruz mountains to Los Gatos. Remnants of this flue can still be found at the bottom of the east wall of the Los Gatos Creek canyon below Lexington dam.
Dorothy was a member of the Los Gatos HS Dramatic Club as was her most famous friend, actress Olivia de Havilland. Dorothy and Olivia were very good friends and they communicated through most of Dorothy's life.
She graduated from LGHS in 1934 and then attended San Jose State and there met future husband Burton Smith in an accounting class. They were married April 22, 1939 while Burton served during WWII in the U.S. Navy in the Aleutian Islands and Washington, D.C. developing motion picture film documenting the war effort. During this time Dorothy had her first of two children, Ronald Alford Smith, in 1942. Five years later, Scott Burton Smith was born. After the war and brief stint in Southern California while Burton was working for Kodak in Hollywood, the family moved to Portland, Oregon, returning in 1955 to San Jose where Burton founded Cine-Chrome Laboratories in Palo Alto, a film processing company. Cine-Chrome developed film for Lockheed as it filmed the development of the first submarine launched Polaris missile for the Navy. Dorothy managed accounting for the new company while her sons attended local high schools and college.
Dorothy was active in several church and charity groups such as Charity League where she served as Vice President. She appeared in the Mercury News social column occasionally. Her greatest personal achievement was winning the Golf Handicap Championship at San Jose Country Club. She loved to play bridge and was also well traveled, including trips to Japan, China, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Europe and the Middle-East where they spent two years in Iran which was the jewel of Dorothy's overseas experiences. The Iran visit however ended during the Islamic Revolution that toppled the Shah and Dorothy and Burton barely escaped with just the clothes on their backs.
Dorothy was always well dressed, warm, generous and sensitive to the needs of other people. She was truly "A Gracious Lady".
Dorothy is survived by her oldest son, Ronald A. Smith (Susie) of Los Gatos, and his brother, Scott B. Smith (Carol) of Pagosa Springs, Colorado; granddaughter, Stephanie Aubrey (Kyle); grandson, Colin, and great-grandchildren, Austin and Siena Aubrey.
Note: Dorothy was interviewed by the Los Gatos TV station KCAT last year in recognition of her 100th birthday. You can view this video by searching www.youtube.com for "Dorothy Smith KCAT".


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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Jan. 13, 2019
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