ALBANY -- CDR. Donald Edward Smith (USN retired) was born to the former Mary Blanche Yeoman and Edward Justus Smith on September 28, 1946 in Denver, Colorado. He passed away Sunday, January 13 in DeBary, FL.
Don began high school in Winter Park, Florida but when his dad, a Navy Reserve pilot, was recalled for the Cuban Missile Crisis, the family moved to Jacksonville, where Don attended Terry Parker High School. After graduation in 1964, he received a Congressional appointment to the United States Naval Academy, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Naval Engineering in1968.
He earned his wings of gold in Pensacola and completed flight training in the F-4 Phantom fighter jet. He was deployed multiple times during the Viet Nam era in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean, primarily on the USS Forrestal. "Lobo" was a graduate of the Top Gun air combat school at Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego, California. At the Naval Post Graduate School he earned a Master's Degree in aeronautical engineering. He was a graduate of the National War College, Defense Intelligence College, and the State Department Foreign Service Institute. The latter prepared him for a two year position as Naval Attache to Liberia, where travels included a visit to Timbuktu. He had a multi-engine commercial license with instrument rating with over 3,800 hours of military, major airline, international and diplomatic flight time.
After retirement from the Navy, Don joined the faculty at Embry-Riddle University's Aeronautical Science Department. He received two President's Innovation Awards, numerous Faculty Appreciation Awards and was named Sigma Chi fraternity's first Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year. He was honored with the Title of Professor Emeritus on retirement from the university. Don often said teaching kept him young, and the crew team he helped coach held a special place in his heart.
In civic life, Don chaired the Feasibility Study and Charter Committees which led to the incorporation of the City of DeBary. As DeBary's inaugural mayor, Don stressed fiscal responsibility and an innovative approach to governance. He served on the Board of Directors of the Florida League of Cities, President of the Orlando chapter of the U. S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, and was Keyman for the Orlando Hangar of Quiet Birdmen.
Survivors include his wife, Jane Evans; daughter, Christy (Scott) Larkin of Huntsville, AL; Donald E. (Jodi) Smith, Jr. of Keller, TX; daughter, Elizabeth Anne Smith, Daytona Beach; step-daughter, Melissa Anne Hunt of Orlando; brothers, Frank Y. Smith and family, Decatur, GA and Robert D. Smith of Pompano Beach, FL; and three grandchildren.
A Memorial Service was held in DeBary, Florida on Thursday. A graveside service with military honors will be held Saturday, January 19 at 11:00 A. M. at the Leesburg Cemetery. The family requests donations to the Wounded Warrior Project in lieu of flowers. Local arrangements are being handled by Mathews Funeral Home in Albany, GA.
To sign our online registry or to send condolences to the family, you may visit Mathews' website at www.mathewsfuneralhome.com.
Mathews Funeral Home