BORN JULY 19, 1953 | DIED JULY 7, 2020
Jeffrey Alan Smith, a Palos Verdes Sea King legend, died on July 7th 2020 after a battle with cancer.
Jeff was born in Columbus, Ohio to Jim and Sally Smith in 1953, two years after a new coach, by the name of Woody Hayes, took over the Ohio State football team (this will become important later in Jeff's story). He grew up in both Columbus and Cleveland before the family moved west to Scottsdale, Arizona and finally to the Palos Verdes Peninsula where Jim and Sally built their dream home to raise their family.
Jeff attended Palos Verdes High School (Class of 1971) where he was a three-sport athlete, lettering in football (an All-League selection as a defensive back), basketball, and baseball. He moved onto U.C.L.A. becoming a Bruin and playing both rugby and football, excelling at both as a fierce competitor with an extraordinary work ethic. As pictured above, he was one of the Captains (number 42) of the 1976 Rose Bowl Champion Bruins, defeating the #1 ranked and undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes coached by… Woody Hayes (his last appearance as a coach in the Rose Bowl). Jeff earned a degree in Kinesiology and went on to become a college football coach. He coached for the University of Hawaii and was the defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator for Santa Monica and Pasadena City Colleges as well as Occidental College.
When his Dad, Jim, started his own consulting business, Jeff left college coaching to follow his Dad's career path becoming a business recruiter. Unfortunately, Jim died of cancer and Jeff tried to continue the business. Eventually, he went to work for Union Bank as a recruiter hiring hundreds of people, principally at the executive level. For almost the next two decades, Jeff worked for various banks and credit unions ultimately achieving the position as the head of Recruitment and Employee Relations at his last job. Jeff was an ethical businessman and he built teams that helped each other and did a phenomenal job at customer service because he cared about people.
He happily retired in 2009 and enjoyed spending time with his wife Gloria and his two daughters, Kiley and Sally. Jeff took that work ethic and his intense loyalty to ensure that others were taken care of before himself and drove more miles and attended more volleyball, basketball, and softball games than can be counted. He supported his wife in her family business and other work, as well as his daughters' dreams of competing at sports and gaining college degrees. He often said that he would never trade the quality time he spent with his family supporting them through some formative years for any business career.
In the Spring of 2019, Jeff received a diagnosis of Stage 4 prostate cancer. He tried treatment, but the cancer finally did what many a competitor couldn't, it overwhelmed his defenses and he passed away just shy of his 67th birthday. Jeff died late into the night of July 7th with his family surrounding him after they cared for him so carefully and lovingly for many weeks.
Jeff was preceded in death by his Dad Jim and his Mom Sally, as well as his grandparents. He is survived by his wife of 27 years Gloria, his two daughters, Kiley and Sally, and his two brothers Bruce and Brian. He also had 12 nieces and 5 nephews that all cherished Uncle Jeff. Jeff will be laid to rest at Green Hills Memorial Park in San Pedro near his parents.
A celebration of his life will take place soon. For now, if everybody would just be like Jeff, giving people the dignity and respect they deserve and holding them accountable to their actions, his legacy will continue. He did his job as a son, husband, father, brother, uncle, and friend to many… well. He did his job well.
Published in Palos Verdes Peninsula News on Jul. 22, 2020.