Richard K. Smith


Richard K. Smith, 464th

24 March 2015

Richard K. Smith, age 93, a lifelong Valparaiso resident, passed away March 24, 2015, at home.  He was born June 9, 1921 to Albert A. and Hazel (Kirk) Smith in Chicago, Illinois.  Following the death of his father, he and his mother moved to Valparaiso in 1922.  He was a 1939 graduate of Valparaiso High School, and enjoyed many reunions with that class.  Richard was a member of the Army Air Corps during World War II and served in the 15th Air Force with the 464th Bomb Group, flying out of Pantanella, Italy.  He was the radio operator and top turret gunner on a B-24 bomber crew, flying 30 combat missions over Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Northern Italy.  He was awarded the Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters.  He attended many reunions of the 464th Bomb Group.  Last July he was able to go with Honor Flight Chicago to Washington, D. C.  Following his service years, he attended Valparaiso University, graduating in 1949.  On June 16, 1951, at the home of her parents in Jackson Township, he was married to Joan Jardine who survives him after 63 years of marriage.  Also surviving are their three sons, Scott R. (Sherri) Smith of Atlanta, Thomas N. Smith of Houston, and Bert C. (Nancy) Smith of Portland.  Also surviving are three grandchildren, Brian (Stephanie) Smith, and their son, William, of New York; Erica (Major Kevin) Anderson, of Misawa Air Force Base in Japan, and their children, Aubrey and Eli; and Claire Smith, a student at Yale University.  Richard retired from Inland Steel in 1982 after 32 years of service.  He and Joan enjoyed a long, busy retirement and traveled extensively.  They enjoyed playing bridge and were Meals on Wheels volunteers for many years.  They followed Valparaiso High School sports teams and were always there when their sons participated.  Richard also was a lifelong, long-suffering fan of the Chicago Bears, Bulls and Cubs.  All his life he was a man of integrity and kindness, and he was a loving and interested husband and father.  He was a long time member of First Church of Christ, Scientist.  A gathering will be held to honor Richard's memory at Strongbow Inn on Sunday, April 12, from 4:00 to 7:00.  Family and friends were invited.