Jack Dempsey Smiley was born Sept. 18, 1922, in Andrews, Cherokee County, N.C. He went home to be with the Lord on Oct. 17, 2009, at the age of 87.
Jack was born to Horace McKinley and Mary Etta (Davis) Smiley on Sept. 18, 1922, in Andrews, Cherokee County, N.C. He passed away peacefully in his sleep, with his loving family by his side, at Hood River Care Center in Hood River, Ore., on Oct. 17, 2009.
He was raised in Almond, Bryson City, and Lauada, N.C., and attended school in Almond and Bryson City, N.C. He served during World War II and the Korean War.
At the age of 17 he enlisted in the Coast Artillery Corps and later transferred to the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was stationed on the Ascension Islands with an engineering company and was very proud to have been part of the crew that was responsible for building the airfield there. He was then transferred to the South Pacific theater where he served in the Philippines and Okinawa until the end of World War II. He left the service briefly and then re-enlisted in the Air Force and served during the Korean War.
While he was still in the service, he returned to Bryson City, N.C., and married the love of his life, Ruth Mae Hyatt, on July 4, 1946. To this union two children were born: Truman “Smokey” and Wanda.
When he left the service in 1954, he moved his family to the Northwest, living briefly in Bingen, Wash., and then in Kinzua, Ore., where he worked in the lumber mill. In 1961 he moved his family to Odell, Ore., to help his father with a small farm and work in the sawmill there.
When his parents moved back to North Carolina he moved his family back to Kinzua, returning to Odell in 1972. After retiring from the sawmill industry, he worked for Stadelman Fruit Co. and Duckwall-Pooley Co. until his final retirement in 2000.
Jack was known there as a “real character” and he loved teasing the ladies on the sorting tables.
Jack is survived by and will be sorely missed by his loving wife, Ruth; his son, Smokey, and daughter-in-law, Sharon; his daughter, Wanda, and her partner, Scott Lindsey, all of Hood River; his brother, Ralph Smiley, of Hood River; and sister, Louise Combs, of Highlands, N.C. He is also survived by three grandsons and their spouses: Eric (and Toni) Smiley, of Portland, Ore., Jason (and Kim) Smiley, and Karl (and Katie) Smiley; and two granddaughters and their spouses: Shannon (and Jamie) Byers and Elizabeth (and Monty) Olson, all of Hood River.
Also surviving are great-grandchildren Chrystal and Breanna Cooper, Erika and Cassandra Smiley, of Portland, Ore., Brian, Courtney, Brandon and Kyle Smiley, Brittany, Ashley and Emily Byers, Billy, Broderick and Brody Knight and Sadie, Brea and Corben Olson, all of Hood River.
He is also survived by his aunt, Bertha Sparrow, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday. The two of them shared a very special relationship.
Many nieces and nephews and other extended family and friends also survive.
He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Nell Firner; his sister-in-law, Jean Smiley; his brothers-in-law, B.A. Combs and Jack Firner; and one niece, Lisa Firner.
A graveside service will be held Thursday, Oct. 23, at 1 p.m. at Idlewilde Cemetery in Hood River.
The family suggests that donations be made to the Odell Fire Department or a local charity of your choice.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center (Funerals, Receptions, Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River, OR 97031; 541-386-1000. Please visit www.andersonstributecenter.com to leave a condolence note for the family.
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