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Walter Norman Smith

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Walter Norman Smith Obituary
WALTER NORMAN SMITH Walter "Walt" Norman Smith, beloved husband, father, grandfather "Opa" and friend, passed away on September 27, 2012 at the age of 83, peacefully in the home he loved and built with his own hands. Walt was born on November 5, 1928 in Santa Ana, California and he and his wife "Bonnie" made Riverside their home for over 40 years. Walt is survived by his second wife Roberta; daughter Johanna and her husband Bob as well as their son Steven; son Jeff and his wife Dawn as well as their sons Cody, A.J. and wife Amanda; daughters Ashlee and Jade and her husband Jimmy as well as their sons Austin and Cameron; daughter Julie and her husband David as well as their daughter Brooke and son Jack; son John and his wife Julie as well as their daughter Jenny and sons Justin, Chad and Hunter. Walt is also survived by brothers Ralph and his wife Iola, and Stan and his wife Christine, as well as sister Donna and her husband Rami. Walt was an amazing man who dedicated himself to his family, friends, hard work and colleagues. His tireless work ethic, integrity and sense of responsibility molded him into an extraordinary man. Early in his teenage years, Walt worked at his family's dairy farm in Glen Avon. During World War II, while attending Poly High, he would help his father C.O. and brother Ralph build houses on the historic Wood Streets Oakwood and Linwood in Riverside every afternoon. Walt was a natural with carpentry and architectural skills. Walt graduated from Poly High School at the age of 16, he attended RCC and graduated from the University of Redlands where he met his future wife Bonnie. While attending the U of R, Walt played both football and baseball and was a member of the Pi Chi fraternity. He played quarterback at the U of R, was the youngest and smallest man on the team, yet showed his great leadership skills. His quickness and agility made him an excellent athlete. Walt spent 2 years in Baltimore, Maryland with the Counter Intelligence Division of the Army. While there, he played softball. Walt worked at the Glen Avon Lumber Company with his father C.O. and brothers Ralph and Stan. Walt and his family built many single-family homes in the Glen Avon area. Walt built all of the homes on Tammy Lane. He also built both of his own homes. He spent tireless days and weekends building his dream home that took over 2 years to complete in 1966. Hard work was something he enjoyed! Walt served 23 years on the Jurupa Community Services District Board. He served as President for several terms. He served on the Riverside Flood Control Board and also served on the Riverside Planning Commission representing District 2 for many years. Walt enjoyed doing community service work, belonged to the Glen Avon Volunteer Fire Department and was also an usher at Calvary Presbyterian Church. Walt continued his love of baseball by playing for several fast-pitch softball teams throughout his life. He was inducted into the Riverside Baseball Hall of Fame with his team "Service Rock", and played on several other teams, including a semi-pro team while in his 40's. Walt continued to play fast-pitch softball at 3rd base, until well into his 50's. Many teams were eager to have him as a member of their team, even at that age. Walt was active with his children in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Indian Guides. He was always supportive of the activities his children and grandchildren were doing, and never missed an opportunity to attend these events, and encourage their participation. As a grandfather to 9, he attended many games in which his grandchildren participated. Walt's determination and strength of will were unmistakable traits and allowed him to persevere through adversity, and keep his attitude positive and optimistic. He enjoyed working in his yard, attending sports events of his grandchildren, spending time at the family beach house on Balboa Island and traveling. He dedicated much of his time and energy toward his family and home, making it a place that friends and family always felt welcome. His home was something he took great pride in. As we have come to understand of God's plan for his life we can only thank him for the gift of his presence in our lives and the bonding strength, integrity and loyalty he gave to his family. Although he is gone from our presence, Walt will remain in our hearts and minds forever. He will be missed and loved always. He was truly "one of a kind". Services are private. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the , Inland Empire Regional Office, 9213 Archibald Ave., Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730 (909) 944-9680.
Published in Press-Enterprise on Oct. 3, 2012
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