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Jerry Julian Smith

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Jerry Julian SMITH, Lt Col USAF (Ret) Jerry Julian Smith, 73, died on June 23, 2009, at his home in Seattle, WA, having led an interesting life filled with love, friendship, laughter and adventure. Born on May 10, 1936, in Statesville, NC, the youngest son of Rosa Kate Johnson Smith and George Carr Smith, he graduated from Cool Spring High School in 1954, and, in 1959, received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Upon his graduation from college, he received his commission to the United States Air Force. He served as a pilot and flew transport and cargo aircraft, with assignments taking him to 21 states throughout the U.S. and to 28 countries all over the world.A Vietnam veteran, he flew with the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing in Vietnam, 1967-1968. He also served on the exchange service with the 47th Squadron of the Royal Air Force at RAF Lyneham, England, 1968-1971. He retired from the Air Force in 1979, at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, after 20 years of service. Throughout his military career, he was known for his skill as a pilot, his patience and kindness as a mentor, and his courage and confidence as a leader. But he was also known as a musician, songwriter and singer. He took his acoustic Gibson guitar with him wherever he flew, keeping up the morale of his crewmates and entertaining military personnel and local residents alike with traditional bluegrass songs and humorous contemporary songs, for many of which he had written the lyrics himself. Upon retirement, Lt Col Smith pursued many of his interests with great passion. In addition to his music, he played golf, traveled the world, and wrote extensively about his life, military career, and subsequent travels. He loved, and was loved by, his family and his wide circle of friends, with whom he kept in touch by visits, cards, letters, and more recently, e-mail. He married his childhood sweetheart, Sylvia Stroud, in 1957, and had two daughters, Sylvia Sonjia Smith and Eugenia "Jenny" Lynn Smith Cline. After a divorce, he married Joan Maureen Baverstock Fortner in 1974. Lt Col Smith was preceded in death by his parents; by his sister Mildred Smith Pharr; by his brother George Hoyle Smith (killed in action in World War II); and by his second wife, Joan. He is survived by his first wife, Sylvia Stroud Smith; by his two daughters, Sonjia and Jenny, and their husbands; by his grandchildren: Steven, Brian, Kendall, and Cameron Bills, and Brendan, Devin and Kieran Cline; by two brothers, Gray and Fred Allen Smith; by his sister, Dorothy Smith Lentz; by two nephews, Lawrence Pharr, Jr. and Gary Smith; by five nieces, Jean Lynch, Sandy Preston, Adrianne Smith, Judy Lentz Smith, and Joyce Lentz, and their families. Following a private memorial gathering held locally, he will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery. Those wishing to honor his memory may make contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project at www.woundedwarriorproject.org
Published in The Seattle Times from July 16 to July 18, 2009
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