Bradford M. Smith, 76, of Lebanon, formerly of Newton, Iowa, passed away, succumbing to cancer on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.
Brad’s story began in Grinnell, Iowa, June 1, 1937. Born to Theodore Merle Smith and Agnes Oliva Ferneau and raised on the Midwest plains, he was taught to shoot, fish and live off the land at a young age. It was in the town of Newton, Iowa, where Brad, his brother Ronnie and his sister Judy spent their younger days. When Brad graduated from Newton High School in 1955, he, like most boys upon receiving independence, made his way to sunny southern California. There, Brad pursued a passion in aviation, securing licenses for both airplanes and helicopters. If it flew, he could fly it. He spent his California days cruising the streets in hot rods and motorcycles until he was drafted into the Army in 1959 and shipped to Europe where his rifle skills, passed down to him from his father, earned him wide recognition as a sharpshooter.
Upon his return from Europe he got a job with Western Electric, thus beginning a 40-year career in telecommunications. It was an exciting time to work in the communication field and Brad’s ability to install new technology made him highly sought after. For 15 years he traveled from coast to coast, receiving special military clearance for his talents, updating and replacing telephone office equipment. Along the way he also perfected his peerless cooking skills.
In 1974, Brad ended up in Fairbanks, Alaska. It was here, working on the Alyeska oil pipeline, where his cooking and adventurous lifestyle won over the affections of Beverly Jo Malloy, who came over for dinner and never left – thus they wed in 1978. Two children soon followed: Chad and Brett. Like their father, the boys enjoyed a life of travel and adventure.
In 1989, the Smiths settled in Lebanon, Oregon, where Brad worked for Telephone Utilities (now Century Tel) until his retirement in 1999. Not one to suffer fools, Brad carried with him a take on life informed by experience, a mind that was always open and a wit that was always sharp. His polished Cessna 170B airplane was his best friend for 40 years and he was often seen cruising in his vintage VW camper or on one of his three motorcycles.
Brad’s parents and a brother, Ronald Smith, preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife, Beverly, of Lebanon; sons, Chad and Brett Smith both of Portland; sister Judith and husband Alan Koch of Newton, Iowa; foster daughter Jennifer Oh and husband Jonathan Stone of London, England; two nieces and seven nephews. Family suggests memorial contributions to Samaritan Evergreen Hospice House c/o Huston-Jost Funeral Home, 86 Grant Street, Lebanon, OR 97355. Plans for a memorial service are pending.