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Howard Windsor Smith
September 16, 1929 ~ January 30, 2024 (age 94) 94 Years Old
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With profound sadness the family of Howard Windsor Smith of Ventura, California, share of his passing on January 30, 2024, after a brief illness.
Howard was 94 years old. His daughter Linda was at his side.
Howard was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on September 16, 1929, to Anna Elizabeth Smith and Charles Winburn Craver. In 1945 he was adopted by his stepfather Shubel S. Smith.
Howard grew up in Saginaw, Michigan. He often spoke of his many childhood experiences. Howard’s first language was German which he and his mother often conversed in. He loved sharing stories about his Grossvader (grandfather) - they shared many adventures together.
He loved and adored his little sister Ruthie and her husband Ed Collins. They always remained very close. Howard was also very close to his son-in-law, Bill Weilbacher. Howard respected Bill’s opinions greatly.
Howard joined the Navy when he was 17. After training, he was stationed at Memphis Naval Air Station, Millington, TN. He was an instructor teaching electronics to men senior to him. It was there that he met the love of his life Dorothy at a USO dance. They faced an uphill struggle from her father- not only was Howard a Sailor, he was also a Yankee. When Howard walked in the front door to see Dorothy, Dorothy’s father walked out the back door. The young couple persevered- with Howard having to ride the bus hours each time he went to see her. All was forgiven after they married. Howard and Dorothy recently celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary.
Howard served in the US Navy from 1947 through 1956. He served on the USS Kearsarge, an aircraft carrier active in the Pacific, and worked on the new technology of aircraft radars in the opening days of the jet age. He left the Navy to attend the University of Michigan, received a degree in Electrical Engineering, and was immediately recruited by General Dynamics. From there, he worked at the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Pt. Hueneme, General Electric, and finished his professional career at the Fleet Defense Division of VSE corporation. He was on the design teams for various missile systems, including the Tomahawk and Harpoon. He attended meetings at the Pentagon. While working at Port Hueneme, Nemisis, he earned an MBA from USC.
During the early days of the Apollo space program, he was recruited by NASA, but turned them down because he didn’t want to leave Southern California for Alabama. Howard was truly a “rocket scientist“ in every sense of the word… right down to his pocket protector, full of pens and a miniature slide rule.
Howard had many interests: he earned a second-degree black belt in Jui-Jitsu, he loved writing stories, and in more recent years poetry. He always loved learning and loved reading and history, and the Three Stooges. Howard was a kind, loving man who greatly loved and treasured his family. He loved his work, his home, and like his mother really loved ice cream.
He was a wonderful, engaging, fun dad to his daughter, Linda, he shared with her his great love for reading & made a trip to the library an epic adventure. He was an involved granddad to his granddaughters Courtney and Erin and his great grandchildren, Patrick and Makenna who called their great grandad “Mr. Great.“
Howard is survived by his beloved wife of 74 years, Dorothy Smith of Ventura, daughter, Linda Weilbacher and son-in-law, Bill Weilbacher, Camarillo, granddaughter Courtney Deppen, Ventura, two great grandchildren, Patrick Deppen, Eagle, ID and Makenna Deppen, Ventura, granddaughter Erin Weilbacher, Camarillo, brother-in-law, Edward J. Collins, Chico, CA, brother-in-law, Charles R. Cox, Memphis, TN, his four nieces; Kim Eidman (Brad), Susan Collins both of Willows, CA, Janet Meyers (Alan), Arbuckle, CA, and Amy Davis (Thomas), Durham, CA. Ex-grand son-in-law Brian Deppen, Ventura and many great nephews and nieces. He was predeceased by his beloved sister, Ruth Adrienne Collins.
A graveside service with Military Honors is planned for Friday, February 16th, 12:00, In Ivy Lawn Memorial Park, 5400 Valentine Road, Ventura.