Page updated 9 September 2012
by Bill Schrier
Ted Smith’s Place in the Family Genealogy
|Parents:||Phil Smith and Verna Veihmeyer Smith|
|Born:||November 9, 1929, in Arnold, Nebraska|
|Died:||January 1, 2012, in Willow, Alaska|
|Siblings:||Roland (Buzz) Smith, Fred Smith, Cathy Smith|
|Spouse:||Joyce Smith, married November 18, 1966|
|Children:||Michael (Mike) Smith of Bellingham and Steve Smith of Vancouver, Washington|
|Grandchildren:||7 Grandchildren (2012)|
|Great-Grandchildren:||11 Great-Grandchildren (2012)|
|Relationship:||Ted’s mother Verna is a sister to Kathy Schrier’s mother Ethel Viehmeyer Thorson|
- Obituary on this website
- YouTube Video – Ted ran for Alaska State Representative and produced this funny 44 second video commercial for that campaign
Ted Smith’s Story
Ted passed away peacefully at his home in Willow, Alaska after suffering a stroke, complicated by the Alzheimer’s he had suffered for several years. He was born in Arnold, Nebraska to Philip and Verna (Viehmeyer) Smith, the oldest of four children. Ted grew up in Stapleton, Nebraska through the eighth grade. During World War Two, the family moved to Vancouver, Washington where Philip worked at Alcoa Aluminum supporting the Allies’ war effort. Ted graduated from Vancouver High School, and spent a short time at Clark Community College in Vancouver before joining the Air Force. He served in the Air Force from 1948 to 1952, and married Barbara Powell in 1951. His first son, Michael, was born at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho in 1952. Ted moved his family back to Vancouver, Washington for a short time before enrolling at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he graduated with a degree in Forestry. His son, Steven, was born in 1956. Unfortunately, by this time the stresses of supporting a young family combined with pursuing a college degree led to a divorce, and Ted accepted a position in Sitka, Alaska in 1958.
Ted served the State of Alaska for most of his life, starting with the Alaska Pulp Company in Sitka. In 1960 he was hired as an Inventory Forester for the State, and moved to Anchorage. He advanced to Area Forester in 1961, and was promoted to Parks and Recreation Officer in 1963. After a long courtship that began in Sitka, Ted married the love of his life Joyce Smith on November 18, 1966. In 1967, Ted was named Chief of Parks and Recreation, and promoted to Director of the Division of Parks in 1970.
Ted ran for the State Legislature in 1974, and was elected to the House of Representatives. As a State Representative, he chaired the Labor and Management Committee, and served as Vice Chair of the Resources Committee. He was named Chair of the House Majority Caucus. Ted sponsored bills to create nine State Parks, including Nancy Lakes State Recreation Area and Chugach State Park, the two of which he was most proud. In 1976 he was appointed Director of Land and Water Management. He held this position until his retirement in 1982, when he moved to Willow.
Retirement for Ted was a continuation of his love of community service. He was appointed to the Mat-Su Resource Conservation and Development Board, and in 1988 elected to the Mat-Su Borough Assembly. Ted also volunteered for many organizations. A partial list includes President of the Willow Area Community Organization, Chair of the Mat-Su Loggers Association, Executive Committee of the Mat-Su Convention and Visitors Bureau, Board of Directors of the Alaska Historical Society, the Upper Susitna State Parks Advisory Board, the Mat-Su Borough Agriculture and Forestry Advisory Board, and many others.
Ted has received many awards and recognitions, the most significant being the Lowell Thomas Jr. Award for Outstanding Civil Service, which he received in 2001. The award is given by the Alaska Conservation Foundation for “an Alaska-based organization or person that demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to conservation through innovative problem solving, effective citizen engagement, and collaborative actions.”
Ted is preceded in death by his parents Philip and Verna, and his brother Roland. He is survived by his wife Joyce, son Mike (Donita) of Bellingham, Washington, son Steve (Kathy) of Vancouver, Washington, 7 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, brother Fred of Puyallup Washington, sister Cathy of Hawaii and many nieces and nephews. A celebration of Ted’s life was held at the Willow Community Center on January 21, 2012 at 2:00 PM and in Olympia, Washington, in July, 2012.