Cover photo for Wilbur  Wyatt Smith's Obituary
Wilbur  Wyatt Smith Profile Photo

Wilbur Wyatt Smith

May 29, 1920 — December 2, 2016

Wilbur Wyatt Smith, age 96, of La Grande, died December 2, 2016, at the Grande Ronde Hospital. A graveside service will be held at the Hilltop Memorial Cemetery in Nyssa, Oregon at 11:00 a.m. MST (10:00 a.m. PST) on Saturday, December 10, 2016. Arrangements are entrusted to Daniels~Knopp Funeral, Cremation & Life Celebration Center.


Wilbur was born on May 29, 1920, the son of Wyatt Cyrus and June (Rose) Smith in Lucas, Kansas. In 1935 the family moved to Nyssa where he graduated from high school. On October 4, 1941, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps and trained as a pilot. He successfully completed thirty B-17 Bomber missions over Europe in WWII. On February 2, 1943, he married Irene Poage in Merced, California. During Wilbur's 23-year Air Force career, they lived in New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Washington DC area, Alabama and Tokyo, Japan. He retired from the Air Force as a full Colonel on April 9, 1964, and they purchased a ranch in High Valley where they ranched until moving to La Grande in 1994. In addition to wife, children, and two careers, he loved flying, hunting and fishing. He attended Calvary Baptist Church in Cove when they lived in High Valley and later the First Baptist Church in La Grande. He served on the Union School Board and on the board of the De Wuhs-Keckritz Education Trust.


Survivors include his children, Dee Hadley Thompson of Buhl, Idaho, Ken Smith of Ontario, Tamara Jarvis of La Grande and Patrick Smith of Albuquerque, New Mexico; brother, Walter Smith of Emmett, Idaho; six grandchildren; two great grandchildren and other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his wife, brothers, Vance Smith and Melvin Smith and son, Douglas Smith.


In lieu of flowers those who wish may make contributions in his memory to the charity of one's choice.

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