Theron Smith
Lifelong Alaskan Theron Ackerly "Terry" Smith, 62, died in a plane crash near Dillingham on Aug. 9, 2010.

A celebration of his life will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Alaska Airlines hangar, 4100 Old International Airport Road, Anchorage. William MacKay will officiate.

Terry was born Nov. 3, 1947, in Anchorage to Theron Arthur Smith Jr. and Katherine Maran Smith. The Smiths traveled to Anchorage from their home in Bethel for Terry's birth. Two weeks later Theron and Maran flew home with their son Terry in the Bamboo Bomber (Cessna) that Smith owned and flew for Ray Peterson Flying Service.

Terry was proud of his Russian-Aleut heritage. He graduated from East Anchorage High School in 1966. He went on to receive a degree in aeronautical engineering from Northrop Institute of Technology in California.

He was born to fly. He grew up around Alaska's aviation pioneers. Terry and his dad, the aircraft supervisor for the Fish and Wildlife Service, logged many hours in the Grumman Goose during aerial surveys for wildlife management throughout the state of Alaska.

Terry spent 28 years with Alaska Airlines, retiring in 2007 as Anchorage-based chief pilot. During his distinguished career, flying more than 29,000 hours, Capt. Smith received numerous awards and citations, including, in 2001, the Legend of Alaska Award from Alaska Airlines, the airline's highest honor, recognizing his extraordinary contributions to aviation. He was also the first recipient of the Alaska FAA Flight Standards Pilot Safety Award and was often called upon to speak at aviation safety seminars.

Smith helped melt the "Ice Curtain" by pioneering historic flights to the Russian Far East. He blazed the trail for Alaska Airlines to establish itself as the first U.S. airline to have regularly scheduled flights to Siberia. The Boeing 737-200 that Smith commanded for these historic flights bears his name and is on display at the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum.

After his retirement from Alaska Airlines, Terry became the head of aviation for Conoco Phillips Alaska. Terry was also the proud owner of Alaska SkyCraft, where he designed a fuel/cargo pod for the Cessna 180, 182 and 185.

Terry was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He loved his family and friends, enjoyed telling stories, and travel.

He leaves behind his wife, Terri; children, Melanie Malone, Brian and Tanya Smith, Brittini and Lito Talbert, and Megan and Jim Kukuk. He also leaves his grandchildren, Jacob, Jeffrey and Alex Malone, Lito, Svea and Tristan Talbert, and Aiden Kukuk, all of Anchorage; his sister, Arlene and husband Bob Mayfield, and Arene's and Bob's children, Amy and Albert Rollins, Ryan and Stephanie Westendorf, Kory and Chance Tinney, Dusty and Lori Mayfield, and Chris and Stephanie Mayfield; aunts, Sarah Tune, Nancy Still of Big Lake and Shirley Hislop of Nikiski; as well as many cousins, nieces, nephews and dear friends.

The family requests that donations in Terry's memory be sent to the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum, 4721 Aircraft Drive, Anchorage 99502.

To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Anchorage Daily News from Aug. 24 to Aug. 25, 2010.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
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30 Entries
As i get older, I can hear his voice plain as day, always cheerful and ready to spread his wings over uncharted space...
Ken Soldin
June 8, 2020
Please accept my sincere prayers that go out to the surviving family and friends may the God of comfort continue to bless you and yours especially after such a tragic loss. Please accept my deepest sympathies. 2 Cor. 1:2,3.
June 8, 2014
I'm so sorry for your loss.
I worked with Terry, in Anchorage, for several years in the late 1970's. He was a good person and a great pilot. His stories, smile and positive attitude will never be forgotten. I will always cherish my flying memories of Terry. The thoughts of many are with you at this time of sorrow.
Lyn Childress
August 31, 2010
I got my Type Rating in "The Terry's" albatross when I met him in Boulder City for the first time. I was a joy to fly with and always had the best stories around the campfire. You were a great inspiration to my flying career Thank You
Matt Burch
August 29, 2010
Anyone who ever worked for Terry was compelled within our inner self, to rise to the occasion of excellence, working together under such great yet humble leadership. I have never had a boss who treated me with such decency. It was an honor. You actually looked forward to going to work because of him. Nobody was as good to the common man as he, nor will there ever be again.
August 28, 2010
Terry has surely slipped the bonds of earth and presently dances the skies on laughter-silvered wings well and graciously beyond the untrespassed sanctity of space. Grateful we can be, that one day too, each of us shall join him, and touch the face of God. I am truly sorry for your loss Terri, and family.
SJ Stewart
August 28, 2010
I remember Terry first when he wasw about 10 or 11 years old. He had a Model plane in his hand and he was talking about the wind going over the wing and under the wing at different speeds due to the curve of the wing, causing lift. I was several years younger than Terry, and I didn't really understand what he was talking about, but the joy and exitement in his face was clear. Later in Junior High Science Class I remmemered Terry's explanation.(Better than the teacher's)
Gene Cleaves
August 27, 2010
We will miss you!
August 27, 2010
Dear Terri and family,
Terry's parents and my parents were stationed in Bethel, Alaska at the same time. My father, Allen Showalter, always said that the flying experiences that he had with Theron Smith, Terry's father, were the best in his life. Throughout the years our parents kept in contact. Arlene, Terry's sister is named after my mother. Terry helped make arrangements for my brother and son to take my father's ashes to a place north of Bethel where he requested to be placed. We are forever grateful for his generous nature and friendship toward my parents throughout the years. we send our most heartfelt condolences to his wife, Terri, and his family. Suellen Showalter Roberts,Dick Showalter and Allen Roberts
Suellen Roberts
August 27, 2010
Through life we all have experienced the loss of a family member ... we didn't really know Terry or his family, but we certainly share the passion of aviation and extend our deepest sympathies to his family, and may Terry rest in peace. ~Ken and Lorraine ~
August 27, 2010
We will miss you Terry. You did great things for ConocoPhillips Aviation Dept.
Tom & Alice Maroney
August 26, 2010
Tom & Alice Maroney
August 26, 2010
To Terry's Family - From his days in Nome flying for Munz Northern we have considered Terry family. Dick had tremendous respect for this young pilot and we have valued his friendship through the years. As a pilot Terry was all business, and as a friend he was true. I can imagine Terry and Dick swapping flying stories right now in the great blue yonder. With great memories - Joyce Galleher & Family
Joyce Galleher
August 26, 2010
So sorry for your loss. Keep in your heart and mind that he is in a good place and smiling down on you. May you be comforted to know that many are sending you their love and prayers for you, your daughter and all the family.

Sharon Pusich Gill Juneau, AK
August 26, 2010
Terry was an amazing person. I grew up with Arlene and Terry. Actually I grew up with Arlene in Airport Heights, Anchorage, Alaska. Terry was 5 years older than me. I always had a "secret" crush on him. He had the most amazing smile and I'm sure he was aware of my crush yet he was always so sweet to me. I was sure I was going to marry him... :o)
I have wonderful fond memories of Terry that I will cherish, always.
Leslie Killpatrick (Waldron)
August 25, 2010
Deepest sympathy
Brenda B
August 25, 2010
I counted Terry as one of my best childhood friends. We grew up in the same neighborhood and went to the same schools sharing many classes and school activities (often sitting next to each other in class as he was an “S” and I was a “T”). An indelible memory -- Us, at Terry’s house after school, working on and testing out his beloved Corvair (he had the knowledge; I was the “go-fer”). Good times.
My sincere and heartfelt condolences to you and your family in your time of loss.
Rick Thomas
August 25, 2010
Terri And Family,
I worked with your Husband at Alaska Airlines from 1978 to 1997. In my 42 years of Flight Operations, I never encountered a more prepared Pilot, then your Husband Terry... He will be missed.
Gerry Henningsen
August 25, 2010
Terri - I haven't seen you since we were neighbors back in the early 80's but I believe Steve has run into you from time to time at air shows over the years. My heart goes out to you at this time of sorrow and I pray that God gives you peace.
Carol and Steve Cope
August 25, 2010
My sincere condolences to Terry's family. Terry set a standard for others to live by, be it a good pilot or good person. It was always a pleasure to chat with Terry when he passed thru in the 737-200, or when he stopped for fuel in the Albatross.Godspeed Terry.
Steve Forsyth
August 24, 2010
Terry leaves many memories, I treasure mine.
August 24, 2010
To my dear and long-time friend, Terry. You will be deeply missed. So many memories from high school! You were such a good listener and I valued your friendship more than I probably ever let you know. To your sincere and heartfelt condolences. Their loss is beyond measure. Goodbye from this world...see you in the next.
August 24, 2010
To the Family of Terry Smith,
Our family wishes to send our condolenses to the Theron Smith family in this tragic loss. In remembering Terry, I wanted to share a special memory with you. My father, Warren Nystrom flew for the Federal Fish & Game in the pre statehood era. At a young age, I became familar with flying in the hangar as well.
There is one such memory I have of the young Terry Smith perhaps at age 8 or 9 years of stopping a rolling aircraft from shear danger. During the mid 1950's there was a modest gravel airstrip on the south side of the canal connecting Hood and Spenard Lakes that the Federal pilots often used. My dad and myself had landed the Grumman Goose and parked just before the end of the runway where there was a big dip. Smitty and young Terry followed us in and landed their Grumman Widgeon to confer on game protection matters. Their plane rolled to a stop near this big dip, with the plane parked and shut down, Smitty got off to talk to my Dad. Suddenly their plane started to roll down the incline with the young Terry still onboard. The reaction of Terry to the rolling plane was so quick. Terry jumped on the failed brakes probably laying his whole little body on them. His father Smitty husstled over to that great little plane saver Terry, all in a matter of seconds. As Terry and I being the sons of Federal pioneer pilots, this memory has always stood out, him being a natural and gifted pilot and person we will miss.
John & Julie Nystrom
August 24, 2010
To Terri (Ellis) Smith....even though I haven't seen you since high school my thoughts and prayers are with you & your family during this most difficult time. May time heal your broken heart.
Hugs to you.
Jody (Lawrence) Daniels
August 24, 2010
Water Rudders up and Cowel Flaps open Terry. We will all dearly miss you my friend.
Doug Wahto
August 24, 2010
To the family of our beloved friend Terry Smith...
It will be the little things that you will remember, the quiet moments, the smiles, the laughter. And although it may seem hard right now, it will be the memories of these little things that help to push away the pain and bring the smiles back again.
With loving memories
the Akiyama's
August 24, 2010
The thoughts and prayers are with you in this time of great sorrow, but know that I regarded Terry as a dear friend and fellow schoolmate who always seem to have a big smile and encouraging word.
We need to remember to tell those around us of our feelings life is fragile and always to short.
Dave Tuttle
August 24, 2010
Peace and blessings to the family. Smooth flying Terry. Margy Johnson
Margy Johnson
August 24, 2010
I knew Terry in the late 1970s. He was a good man and a good pilot. My heart goes out to his family.

Johnny Burke
Brookfield, CT
August 24, 2010
Terri: We Pray: God grant you his most Special Care and Love in this time of sorrow, as we are sure he will grant Terry and the Family. " Fair weather, winds always at your back, and a way to stay out of air pockets".
Croffut Family
August 24, 2010
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