SMITH, Lee Eugene

Lee Eugene Smith, age 89, of Bethany Village, Centerville, Ohio, passed away on September 20, 2022. Lee was born January 31, 1933, in Lee County, Iowa.

Lee graduated from Iowa State University in 1954 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and earned an MS in Mechanical Engineering in 1963 from the University of Idaho. Lee was commissioned into the United States Air Force in 1954, where he served as an Air Rescue Pilot, Instructor Pilot, Aircraft Commander, and in multiple engineering assignments across the U.S.A. and Southeast Asia. A Command Pilot with over 5000 hours total pilot time, including 1000 hours of combat flying, his awards include the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Legion of Merit. After a distinguished career of over 26 years of service to his country, Colonel Smith retired in 1981 as Director of the Life Support Special Project Office at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, OH.

Following his military service, Lee worked at Systems Research Laboratories in Beavercreek, OH, until retiring in 1996. He was a member of Peace Lutheran Church; the Order of Daedalians (military pilots); the Buckeye Oliver Collectors (tractors); and a volunteer at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Lee enjoyed playing golf, watching sports, and doing the daily Sudoku. He loved to fly and had a fond story about every airplane he ever flew.

Lee is survived by his wife of 68 years, Shirley (Messer) Smith and five daughters: Diane (Robert) Smalley, Patricia (James) McGiness, Nancy (Robert) Buchanan, Noel (Kevin) Cookman, Dawn (David) Roberts. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren: Brent (Keith VanCamp) Smalley, Clark (April) Smalley, Rachel (Christopher) Karabats, Laura (Sam) Rakestraw, Lori Buchanan, Forrest and Molly Cookman, Annika, Elijah, Evan, Hope, and Paige Roberts; and seven great-grandchildren: Ellie and Ainsley Smalley; Eva, Esther and Iris Karabats; Elise and Aiden Rakestraw. Lee is also survived by three siblings: Margaret Harryman, Dale (Glenda "Kay") Smith, Judy Herr; and one sister-in-law, Kathleen "Kay" Smith. He was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Birdie (Bargar) Smith, sister Patricia and brother Gary Smith.

Visitation will be Monday, 10/03/2022, from 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM at Tobias Funeral Home, 3970 Dayton-Xenia Road, Beavercreek, OH. The funeral service will be Tuesday, 10/04/2022, at 11:00 AM with a one hour prior visitation at Peace Lutheran Church, 3530 Dayton-Xenia Road, Beavercreek, OH, followed by burial with full military honors at Dayton National Cemetery. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at Tobias Funeral Home – Beavercreek Chapel for the Smith family.

Funeral Home Information

Tobias Funeral Home - Beavercreek Chapel

3970 Dayton-Xenia Rd

Dayton, OH