Four days after he said, "I do" - again - renewing his marriage vows to his wife of 65 years, Richard C. Smith passed away in Yakima, Washington. Born December 31, 1924 to Claude Smith and Anna Burge Smith, early Yakima pioneers, Richard Smith led a life of service to his country and his community. He embraced his life's pursuits with all his heart.
After graduating from Naches High School in 1942, he attended Washington State University before enlisting in the U S Navy in 1943. He earned his officer's commission from Notre Dame University and served in World War II until 1946. He graduated both from the University of Washington undergrad and law schools, receiving his law degree in 1950.
In 1948, he married Patricia Ann Schock, daughter of long time Yakima residents Jacob and Julia Schock, at St. Paul's Cathedral.
Smith was recalled into the Navy during the Korean conflict in 1951. At the end of that conflict, having attained the rank of lieutenant commander, he was discharged, but continued his service in the reserves.
He practiced law in Yakima, first as a deputy prosecutor and later in the private practice of law. Over the course of his long career, Smith practiced with many fine Yakima lawyers, including Gordon Hansen, Fred Stewart, Russ Mazzolla and Jim Scott, but his greatest pleasure was to practice for twenty years with his son, Richard A. Smith, in the Smith law firm. As a lawyer, Smith was know for his intellect, organized mind and fairness. He served as President of the Yakima County Bar Association in 1976. He served as legal counsel to the Landlord-Tenant Association of Yakima and the Yakima Clean Air Authority. He was City Attorney for the City of Moxee and represented numerous fire and sewer districts.
Among his many civic contributions, Smith co-chaired the capital campaign for the expansion of the Yakima Valley Museum in 1954, an institution co-founded by his mother Anna Burge Smith. He was a long time board member (1978-1990) of the Yakima Chamber of Commerce, where he was President in 1984-85. He also served as legal counsel to the Chamber from 1985 to 2004.
Smith converted to Catholicism to marry Patricia Schock, but once a convert, wholeheartedly embraced Yakima's Catholic community. He was Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus. He was Chair of the Board of Catholic Family and Child Services, and served on the board of Portia House at its founding in 1965. It was through this organization that in 1962, Smith and his wife welcomed Virgilio Fernandez and Douglas Guerrero, refugees from Cuba, into their home and their family, in 1962 and 1965. In 1962, he and his family served as host family to Germanus Nchanji, an exchange student from Cameroon.
Smith loved the outdoors, and was an avid hunter and fisherman. He loved the game of golf and gardening. He was a student of American history, especially the era of the American Civil War. He was a voracious reader. He and Patricia traveled in the U S and abroad, but especially loved to spend time in Long Beach.
Smith was a loving husband to Patricia. He was father to Jill Vaughn (Bob Vaughn), Richard A. Smith (Kathleen Smith), and Rebecca Smith (Jeffrey Johnson). He was grandfather to Jacob Vaughn (Christine Kardos), Tyson Vaughn (Delanie Vaughn), Luca Provenzano, Adriana Provenzano, Matthew Smith, Kevin Smith, Danica Johnson and Anya Johnson. A great believer in the value of education, he made sure that each of his grandchildren went to college. He was great grandfather to Jane Vaughn.
Smith is preceded in death by his brother Thomas Smith and his sister, Claudia Smith Bacon. He was the family patriarch to numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Smith was born on New Year's Eve, and always joked that everyone everywhere celebrated his birthday. His death on the Fourth of July ensures that we will continue to celebrate him.
The family wishes to extend our deepest thanks to LaDonna Chambard, Director of Regional's Home Health and Hospice, staff at Cottage in the Meadows, and the staff of Living Care for their care of Richard in the final years, weeks and days of his life.
A vigil will be held at St. Paul Cathedral on Monday July 8th at 6:00 p.m. and a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday July 9th at 10:00 a.m. also at St. Paul Cathedral. Friends and family wishing to share remembrances of Richard may do so at www.keithandkeith.com.
Donations may be made in Richard's name to La Salle High School or St. Paul Cathedral School