Levi Wayne Smith obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Levi Wayne Smith

January 30, 1923 - September 10, 2017

Obituary


Levi Wayne Smith was born near Coleman, Texas, on January 30, 1923, the youngest of three children born into the hard working farm family of Thomas Milton Smith and Eva Ruth May, but moved to Silver Valley around 1928.

L.W went to Elementary School and Junior High in Silver Valley but took the bus into Coleman for High School. After a two year break during which L.W. found that he could not make his fortune without a high school education, L.W. graduated from Coleman High School in 1941. He immediately went to Houston, Texas,...

Levi Wayne Smith was born near Coleman, Texas, on January 30, 1923, the youngest of three children born into the hard working farm family of Thomas Milton Smith and Eva Ruth May, but moved to Silver Valley around 1928.

L.W went to Elementary School and Junior High in Silver Valley but took the bus into Coleman for High School. After a two year break during which L.W. found that he could not make his fortune without a high school education, L.W. graduated from Coleman High School in 1941. He immediately went to Houston, Texas, where his sister Camille and her husband Leo Buck were living. Leo put him in touch with Louis Tyra who hired him to work in Spring at his lumber mill. L.W. was working there when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Everyone wanted to join up. L.W. and his friend were determined to get into the Air Corps and moved to San Antonio where they worked for the Corps of Engineers while waiting to hear if they could get in. Having passed the entrance exam, L.W. became an Aviation Cadet and, eventually, a P-47 pilot. Somehow, in the middle of the intense training, L.W. found the time to marry Betty Jean Anderson, daughter of Cooper and Grace Anderson of San Antonio, Texas.

L.W. arrived in Europe just before D-Day but his biggest missions were associated with Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge. [See http://tailspinstales.blogspot.com/2008/01/full-tokyo-tanks.html for a description of the rendezvous for the mission.] L.W.'s tour was finished in January of 1945 so he returned home and was sent to assorted bases around the country, as only the military can do it, the moving stopping just prior to the birth of his daughters in September.

L.W. then retained his flying skills in the Reserves, worked for Fuller Lumber Company in West Houston and took some night classes in business.

By 1950, L.W and his brother-in-law had gone to New Mexico to start a lumber business. It was the wrong place at the wrong time. L.W. and his small family returned to Houston where he again went to work for Fuller Lumber Company until 1957 when he started his own business, Marine Lumber Company, near the Houston Ship Channel. The business struggled and survived but the marriage did not. L.W. and Betty divorced in 1972.

L.W. subsequently married Juanita Watson Davis. Juanita preceded L.W. in death, dying in 1996.

L.W. found a new life partner in Betty Ferguson, once the owner of Metallic Products of Houston, in 1999.

L.W. joined Brae Burn Country Club about 1958 and joined Lochinvar Country Club about 1978.

L.W. died Sunday, September 10, 2017. He is survived by his daughters, Jane Bonny (Ross), Elaine Whitman (Philip), stepson-Randy Davis, grandchildren, Neal Whitman, Glen Whitman, Ellen Whitman and Todd Bonny, his step grandchildren Jake and Kim.

More information on L.W.'s life can be found in a separate file which is too large for this space.