Lee W. Smith

Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2008

Former Juneau resident Leephonse "Lee" W. Smith, of the pioneer dairy family, died July 22, 2008, in Everett, Wash., from a sudden illness. He was 91.

He was born two months premature on Dec. 31, 1916, at St. Ann's Hospital in Juneau, to Leephonse H. Smith and Frances Altmueller Smith.

He married Marie B. Perron on Jan. 2, 1946, in St. Ann's Hospital chapel where Marie worked as a nurse. Marie lives with daughter, Denise McNamee, and her husband, Robert, of Sultan, Wash. Granddaughters Shaunne and Erin McNamee live in Seattle, and grandson, Gary Fraser, lives in Bakersfield, Calif.

He and Marie moved to Warrenton, Ore., in 1967 after the family dairy business ceased operations. Lee used his extensive background in agriculture, along with his college knowledge acquired at Washington State College, to work for the soil conservation service. After he retired from federal employment in 1982, he enjoyed the nearby Oregon beaches and gardening. One of his biggest joys was visiting with and helping his many friends and neighbors. For many years Lee was an active member in the Seaside Council of the Knights of Columbus.

His family said he loved to laugh and share stories of the old days. To the end, he had an avid curiosity and loved meeting new people, they said.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Delores Bruns; and brother, Francis.

He is survived by his brothers, Joseph, Theodore and Sidney Smith.

A memorial Mass will be held at 1 p.m. Aug. 9 at St. Paul's Catholic Church. A reception and celebration of his life will be held at the Juneau Moose Lodge on Old Dairy Road following the services. Internment will be a private family gathering at the Shrine of St. Therese.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the endowment and maintenance fund for the Shrine of St. Therese.

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