Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Douglas H. Smith, the only grandfather I've ever known

Two weeks ago I got a call I knew would be coming sometime soon. Doug Smith had passed away. My heart was saddened. I called Barbara right away. I love them. When I was in my teens, they moved into our neighborhood. They had 3 grandchildren living with them and I became very good friends with their granddaughter, Julie. I was adopted into that household as one of their own grandchildren. Doug and Barbara have been a part of my life ever since. When Steve and I were married, it was Doug who performed our marriage. It was Barbara who sat on one side of me in the temple acting as my surrogate grandmother. When big problems have arisen I've gone to them for counsel. It is always wise counsel. I love them with all of my heart.
I decided I needed to be at Dougs funeral so I packed up the five kids and drove to Utah for a few days. It was a great trip...I'll post more about that later.

The funeral was so beautiful. Presiding was Pres. Thomas S. Monson, the prophet and president of the LDS church. He spoke and Elder Packer spoke. On the stand sat Elders Holland, Ballard, Scott and Nelson. The spirit was strong and I was so grateful we choose to go. At the gravesite, Pres. Monson spoke to every child-including my own. He shook their hands, gave hugs and smiled lots. I feel so honored and priviledged to have this amazing family in my life.

Some Doug stories...Doug and Barbara LOVE playing Rummikub. Sunday nights you could find Barbara, Julie, myself, sometimes my brother Paul, Jeff or Trent gathered around the table with our tiles and boards. Doug would walk around the table making little sounds when we made a lousy move or helping us make a brilliant move. My family plays Rummikub and I always think of Barbara and Doug.

When Steve and I were about to get married, I panicked a little bit. We were literally in the elevator heading up to the sealing room in the Salt Lake Temple and I told Doug I was going to say 'No!' He simply said 'Chari, when I look at you, you will say Yes! Nothing else. You love this man. You have prayed about this and this is not the time to back out-that was yesterday! Say Yes!'
I said yes and here we are 19 years later!

Doug was the President of Beneficial Life Insurance. He had 3 different offices in the BL Tower as I recall. Julie and I would go meet him for lunch and whenever we did, he always made sure he was in the office on the highest floor...the one that was used for VIP's. It was always so much fun to be able to go up there and be treated so importantly.

Doug could also type 120 words per minute. That is sooo fast. I type 90 WPM and I've tried to reach his speed.

I feel so grateful to have had his influence in my life!

News articles and His obituary follows...

Douglas Hill Smith
May 11, 1921 ~ January 29, 2009
Douglas Hill Smith, loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, devoted church leader, noted business executive and wonderful friend passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his family, January 29, 2009 of causes incident to age.

Douglas was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 11, 1921 to Virgil Howarth Smith and Winifred Pearl Hill Smith. He graduated from South High School in 1938 and from the University of Utah in 1942, where he was affiliated with the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He married Barbara Jean Bradshaw on June 16, 1941 in the Salt Lake Temple, with President David O. McKay officiating. Douglas and Barbara have seven children; Sandra J. Smith; Lillian S. Alldredge (Claron); Barton D. Smith (Louise); Lowell V. Smith (Lynne); Blaine K. Smith (Rebecca); Catherine S. Faulkner (Carl); and B. Sherilynn Alba (Hector). He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and his brother Howard H. Smith (JoeAnn), brother-in-law Thomas Rodney Bradshaw (Joan), and sister-in-law Helen Bradshaw. He was preceded in death by his granddaughter Ashley Ann Faulkner, his parents, and his brother Virgil H. Smith. Douglas and Barbara have 39 grandchildren and 78 great grandchildren. Douglas took great joy in his posterity. His exemplary dedication and generosity to every family member was an outstanding example of his role as a loving patriarch.

Douglas was president of Beneficial Life Insurance Company, Utah Home Fire Insurance Company, and Southern Reinsurance Exchange. He was Chairman of the Board of Directors of L.D.S. Hospital (10 years) and Chairman of the Utility Shareholders Committee. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of Zions First National Bank, Hotel Utah, Freedom Foundation - Valley Forge, Salt Lake City and County Board of Health, Murdock Travel, Western American Life Insurance Company, Continental Western Life Insurance Company, and Pacific Heritage Life Insurance Company. He was vice chairman and executive vice president of Deseret Management Corporation. He also served as the vice president of the Boys Scouts of America, Great Salt Lake Council and American Cancer Society.

Douglas was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had a firm conviction of its teachings and an unshakable testimony of Jesus Christ. He served in many positions in the Church, including service as Elders Quorum counselor and president, High Priest Group Leader, Bishopric Counselor (Edgehill Ward), Bishop (South Edgehill Ward), Counselor and Stake President (Hillside Stake), Regional Representative, a member of the First and Second Quorums of Seventy, Area President of the Asia Area, and Temple Sealer. He demonstrated an absolute commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and was a leader in building the Kingdom of God. He had a particular love for the people of the Far East.

Friends may visit Larkin Mortuary,260 East South Temple St.,Salt Lake City, Utah on Tuesday, February 3, 2009 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at 12 noon at the Ensign Second Ward, 135 North “A” Street, Salt Lake City, Utah, where a viewing will be held one hour before the service. Interment will be in the Salt Lake Cemetery


Kim said...

What a great post. You were very lucky to be so close to such an amazing person. Also, thanks for the tag, and the comment on my blog. I'm anxious to hear how it went for Steve today, keep us posted. All the best -

Julie D said...

Hey girl, thanks for the lovely tribute to grandpa. He did love you very much and I am very grateful for your friendship.
Love, J

Kristin said...

I'm sorry for your loss. And sorry I didn't get to see you. Love you.