Obituary: William (Bill) Robert Smith, 82, passes away
Bill Smith passed away peacefully on April 30, 2009, at home. He was 82 years old. He died of complications from interstitial lung disease.
He was born in Portland Oregon on Aug. 27, 1926, the son of Hubert William Smith and Edna Marie Young. The family moved to Tulare California in 1941. His father was the ground school supervisor for the Rankin Aeronautical Academy at Rankin Airfield. The academy trained WWII pilots.
Bill graduated from Tulare High School in 1944 and married his first wife Letha Ann Hopkins. He spent 1945/46 in the Army Air Force. Bill and Letha had two children Sandy and Craig. They moved to Santa Barbara. Later, Bill met his future wife, Joan Marilyn Phillips, on a blind date. He married Joan and adopted her two children Bruce and Bonnie. The combined family settled in Arroyo Grande and Bill began working for Safeway in Pismo Beach. Their last child is Carrie.
Bill and Joan took a vacation to Lake Tahoe and visited one of Joan’s high school friends who was the manager of the Safeway store in Tahoe City. Falling in love with Tahoe, they moved to Tahoe City in 1966. To advance his career, Bill transferred to the new Safeway in Truckee when it was built. They moved to Truckee in 1970 after purchasing the Cottage Hotel in historic Brickeltown, a neighborhood of downtown Truckee.
Bill worked for Safeway for 30 years and at one time was the manager of the Truckee Safeway. He helped his wife operate the hotel and took over after his retirement. One of his passions was football, both professional and local. He rarely missed a Tahoe Truckee High School home game. Many of you may remember him riding around on his 3-wheeled trike, another passion. His favorite routes were the Gold Lakes loop and Markleville in the fall to see the aspen trees in Hope Valley and, of course, up to the high school for a home game.
This winter Bill stated he loved the area’s “blue bird days,” those special days right after a fresh snowstorm with the trees draped in white. He also loved the fall colors, chasing the changing colors on his trike. He is now at peace riding his trike with his conures Peppers and Cricket at his side.
Bill is survived by: his wife, Joan Smith; and five children, Sandy, Craig, Bruce, Bonnie, and Carrie; grandchildren, Tammy, Tricia, Drew, Devin, Brandon, and Nathan; great grandchildren, Justin, Kiley, and Evan; and sisters Lois and Shirley. His family and friends will miss his love and support.
No funeral services are planned. A celebration of life/memorial ride will be planned and announced at a later date. The family wishes to express tremendous gratitude to Tahoe Forest Hospice for their incredible support, especially Ann Ajari, Heidi Blide, and Susie Wright. We could not have made it through the last few months without them.
If desired, donations can be made to Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue, P.O. Box 697, San Jose, CA 95106-0697 or to the Tahoe Forest Hospice program, Tahoe Forest Hospital Foundation, P.O. Box 2508, Truckee, CA 96160.
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