August 1, 1925 - April 12, 2021
Bothell, Washington - Victor Herbert Smith – son, husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather passed April 12th in Bothell, Washington. He was born August 1, 1925 to Herbert Levi Smith and Paulina Catherine Stefan in Lewistown, Montana.
Victor grew up in Benchland, Montana, now largely a ghost town, where his father managed the grain silo, and his mother was the town's mayor and postmistress. His father's job shielded them from the worst effects of the Depression and, as an only child, was doted on by both parents. He enjoyed the hunting and fishing that was so accessible in rural Montana and the stimulating cultural influences of his New York City born mother. Victor excelled in school but, on his 18th birthday, he heeded the call of a nation at war and enlisted in the US Navy. He served in the Pacific Theater as a radioman while assisting naval intelligence. After months spent with headphones listening for Japanese submarines and coded messages, he was left with a substantial hearing loss that would progress to complete deafness in his later life.
After discharge, Victor attended college on the GI Bill and earned a degree at Montana State University. Honors awarded at Montana State helped him earn a scholarship to Oregon State University where he attained a Masters and Ph.D. in Chemistry. In between attending the two universities he found time to woo his high school sweetheart and marry Carolyn Marie Nygren August 6, 1950.
The couple moved to Corvallis, Oregon where they started their family. After graduation from OSU, Victor was recruited to work for General Electric at Hanford in Richland, WA. Over the next 30 years, Victor worked for GE and Battelle NW with a two-year hiatus during which he and the family moved to Minneapolis to pursue postgraduate studies at the University of Minnesota. Victor's work on radioisotopes and the use of chelating agents for treating radiation exposure gained international recognition and he presented at conferences in Asia, Europe and the then USSR.
Following retirement, he spent endless hours tinkering with computers and other electronics in his basement laboratory. He was a voracious reader, loved Sunday drives, going to museums, funky Sci-Fi movies, good wine and beer and playing poker with fellow Battelle retirees. He and Carolyn made many trips abroad, eventually visiting 6 out of the 7 world's continents. Along with Carolyn, he enjoyed and celebrated their children's achievements, marriages, and grandchildren. He and Carolyn hosted holiday gatherings and provided a place for their family to call home.
In his last years, Victor developed Alzheimer's and that illness plus his hearing difficulties made life far less enjoyable. In 2014 he lost a son, Mark, and then in 2019 he lost his wife, Carolyn, just shy of their 70th Anniversary. His last 18 months were spent at Blueberry Gardens in Bothell. We want to thank them for the wonderful care they provided. He is survived by a son, Matt (Linda) Smith, and by daughters Stephanie (Pete) Sowl, Leslyn (Michael) Fitch, Samantha Smith and by Deena Smith, daughter-in-law. Grandchildren are Mick (Marissa) Sowl, Cori (Stuart Hambley) Smith, Lauren Smith, David Smith, Catherine (Ishan) Fitkar, Taylor (Katie) Fitch, and Andrew Fitch. Great-grandchildren include Rylee and Kennedy Sowl. Those wishing to leave a remembrance for Victor may do so by donating in his name to the Union Gospel Mission. A private graveside service will be held at a later date.
Published in & from May 7 to May 8, 2021.