Paul William Smith Jr., 66

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"font-family: arial; font-size: 13px; border-collapse: collapse;">Colonel

Paul William Smith, 66, died at home Thursday, July 15, 2010. He

was surrounded by family when he succumbed to advanced metastatic

melanoma.  

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"font-family: arial; font-size: 13px; border-collapse: collapse;">Visitation,

rosary and funeral Mass were held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church

in Anchorage, Alaska. He was buried with full military honors at

Fort Richardson National Cemetery.

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"font-family: arial; font-size: 13px; border-collapse: collapse;">Born

in Sandpoint, Feb. 13, 1944, to Paul William and Elizabeth

Josephine Smith, he spent his childhood in North Idaho and

Washington state. His family settled in Coeur d’Alene in 1953 where

Paul attended St. Thomas Catholic Grade School. He spent six years

at Holy Redeemer College, a Redemptorist seminary in Oakland,

Calif., and was a graduate of Gonzaga University, Spokane, Wash. in

1967.

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"font-family: arial; font-size: 13px; border-collapse: collapse;">He

referred to his time at Holy Redeemer College as his “greenhouse

years.” He explained that the school both protected the seminarians

from the outside world, and that it watered and fed them and hoped

that vocations would grow.

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"font-family: arial; font-size: 13px; border-collapse: collapse;">In

1968, Paul married Cheryl Eugene of Spokane and their married life

took them to various places as he was transferred in the service of

his country. They spent three years in Taiwan, and in 1973, Paul,

Cheryl and their growing family moved to Anchorage,

Alaska.

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"font-family: arial; font-size: 13px; border-collapse: collapse;">Colonel

Smith enjoyed a distinguished 32-year military career. He joined

the Air Force in 1967, earning his silver navigator wings in 1970.

Paul flew combat missions throughout Southeast Asia during the

Vietnam War while based in Taiwan, earning the Distinguished Flying

Cross. Arriving at Elmendorf Air Force Base in 1973, he flew

ski-equipped C-130D aircraft on the Greenland icecap.  

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"font-family: arial; font-size: 13px; border-collapse: collapse;">Paul

joined the Alaska Air National Guard in 1976 flying worldwide

missions in the C-130 until retirement in 1999. In addition to

serving as Chief Navigator, he commanded the 176th Operational

Support Flight and the 176th Operations Group. He flew more than

8,000 flight hours. Additional military decorations include the

Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, three Air Medals and

many others.  

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"font-family: arial; font-size: 13px; border-collapse: collapse;">After

retirement, Paul’s love of air travel prompted him to a new career

at Alaska Airlines. This allowed him to continue a lifelong

interest in visiting different countries, often accompanied by one

or more of his five sons.   

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"font-family: arial; font-size: 13px; border-collapse: collapse;">His

love of travel is what his loved ones remember as his defining

characteristic. His career as a navigator dovetailed with his

desire to see every corner of the world. He visited every continent

except Antarctica. Paul explained his desire to travel as being

part of him throughout his life. As a small boy on his parents

farm, when he saw a car go by, he wished he were in that car. At

seminary, when he heard a train go by, he wished he were on that

train. Later, whenever he saw a plane go by, he wished that he were

on it.

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"font-family: arial; font-size: 13px; border-collapse: collapse;">Paul’s

travels were both far and near. His children recall many camping

excursions around Alaska with the “pop-up” trailer. He even entered

a lottery for land north of Anchorage. He encouraged his sons to

continue camping and fishing with their own children.  

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"font-family: arial; font-size: 13px; border-collapse: collapse;">Paul

was an avid downhill skier, which he even continued throughout his

fight with cancer. He was also involved for several years with the

annual musical productions of CHAOS (Committee for Handling

Alaska’s Outstanding Spectaculars) at his parish, St. Patrick’s

Catholic Church. He loved to read, and in fact, the first

significant purchase of his adult life was the Great Books Series,

though he wasn’t allowed to keep them in the living

room.

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"font-family: arial; font-size: 13px; border-collapse: collapse;">Paul

is survived by his wife, Cheryl; his two sisters, Theresa

Esztergalyos of Vancouver, Wash., and Celine Lehman of Coeur

d’Alene; his five sons, Paul William III, Daniel, Matthew, Peter

and Alan; and six grandchildren, Alexander, Denali, Margarete,

Eleanor, Julia and Finnegan.

"font: normal normal normal 10px/normal 'Lucida Grande'; margin: 0px;">

"font-family: arial; font-size: 13px; border-collapse: collapse;">Paul

was preceded in death by his unborn sons, John and James, his

parents, and younger brother, Dennis.

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