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Richard Eldon Smith

Obituary for Richard Eldon Smith

Retired Eastern Air pilot, youth coach and longtime UT fan

A military graveside service will be conducted Houston National Cemetery on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. for Richard Eldon Smith, who died Tuesday, Feb. 5 2019.

Richard was born in Flushing, New York on Jan. 10, 1937 to Helena Atamaniuk and Ellis Earl Smith. He grew up on a farm in Flemington, New Jersey where he graduated from Flemington High School in 1955. After graduation he went into the Army where he served a year then transferred into the United States Air Force being stationed at Bergstrom Airforce base in Austin, Texas.

While stationed in Austin, he met and married the love of his life, Allene Kay Jenkins on Jan. 8, 1960. They moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma where he attended Spurton College of Aeronautics and Technology receiving his A&P Mechanic certificate. After moving back to Texas he obtained his private and commercial Pilot licenses. He then joined Eastern Airlines starting out at Washington DC airport which is now known as Ronald Regan Washington National Airport. While working for Eastern Airlines, he and his family transferred to various locations in different states.

In 1971 he moved to Huntsville, Texas where he bought a farm and worked for Eastern at Houston Intercontinental Airport until his retirement. Richard and his family made Huntsville their home where he remained the rest of his life.

In Huntsville he was known as Coach Smith due to his coaching of baseball and softball with his children. He was an avid Texas Longhorn football fan and had season tickets for 47 years. Besides sports, one of Richard’s biggest enjoyments was flying his Aircraft, which was a Citabria. His love of flying is beyond words. He and his buddies Charlie Brown, JB McDaniel, Doc Hampton and Mike Logston are the last of the Barnstormers.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years Allene Kay Smith, his two brothers Ellis Earl and Ben Michael Smith. Richard is survived by his son Eddie and wife Cindi Smith; Daughters Deanna Smith, Rochelle and husband Wayne Gallo; and Donna and husband Craig Schulze. Grand Children Cassandra and Leland Smith and Shelby Schulze. His brother Tomas and wife Camille and many nieces, nephews and Cousins.

Condolences may be left at www.shmfh.com




About Rich Heiland

Rich Heiland, former publisher of the Huntsville Item and owner of Free Press publications, LLC, a reporting/writing firm working with media, has been a reporter, editor and publisher at several daily papers. He was part of a Pulitzer Prize winning team. He taught journalism at Western Illinois University. He can be reached at freepresstx@gmail.com or 936-293-0293.

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