Wednesday, April 20, 2011
lee smith -- my clever pal
This is a month for transitions.
Another friend died this week.
I first met Lee Smith (pictured above with his wife, Judy, celebrating their 58th wedding anniversary) in 1989 when we were both employed with the same company in Salem. He had an innate ability to treat the most difficult situation with his trademark humor. Often acerbic. But always humorous.
During the five years we worked together, he was faced with what could kindly be referred to as uncaring managers. The type of bosses that show up in situation comedies -- and we all chuckle how they could not exist in real life.
But they did. And Lee characteristically laughed them off. Until he decided that retirement was better than losing his sense of humor.
We had much more in common than our work.
We were both Air Force officers. He joined the Air Force the year I was born. But our shared status was far more important than our age differences. Proving that age is not a restriction on friendship.
He could (and did) tell some of the funniest stories I have ever heard about the absurdities of military life. And some of the best revolved around adventures his wife, Judy, and their daughters, Donna and Beth, faced as part of a military family. (Beth, at one point, worked with me.)
When we all lived in Salem, I would often have holiday dinners with them at Beth’s home. And, you will not be surprised to discover, the entertainment was usually provided through Lee’s sardonic story-telling.
I thought I would lose some of that contact when I moved to Mexico. But Lee turned into one of my most regular blog readers. He always knew the details of my little adventure south of the border. And could recount them – with his personalized twists – whenever I was in Oregon.
He devoted his life to his country and his family – participating in tumultuous events in our nation’s history. Always giving selflessly of his wisdom and his love.
We’re going to miss you, Lee.