Gatewood Givens Smith came into the world September 24, 1926 and left on the same day 87 years later. He was born in Hollywood, Calif. to Sowyel and Virginia Smith. He graduated from Hollywood High School in 1944 and upon graduation immediately entered the U.S. Navy where he served as a baker on a naval ship in the Pacific. After serving for two years, he traveled to Scottsbluff, Neb. where he met his military pen pal, Ruth Smith. They were married August 14, 1947 in Scottsbluff. He attended Scottsbluff Junior College.
Their first daughter, Karen, was born in in Scottsbluff in 1948. He continued his education at Colorado State College of Education in Greeley, Colo. where his second daughter, Kay, was born, graduating with a degree in Science. "Smitty" began his teaching career in Long Beach, Calif. where he taught junior high science for one year. Unhappy with inner city teaching, he moved his family to Medford, Ore. where he continued his teaching career for the next 31 years. He taught science at McLoughlin and Hedrick Junior High Schools until receiving a one year scholarship at Oregon State University. Returning to Medford with a Master's Degree in Science in 1957, he continued his teaching career at Medford Senior High School in the math department. He discovered his passion for teaching math and continued it for the rest of his teaching career until retiring in 1985.
After retirement, Smitty and Ruth spent several years traveling around the country in their RV. He was interested in genealogy and traveled to Scotland to trace his family and find the family property. Smitty was a dedicated member of the Medford Congregational United Church of Christ, chairing the building committee and singing in the choir. He was also a member of the NEA, OEA, MEA, NCTM, OCTM, American Legion, Kiwanis and Masons. He was an avid reader and enjoyed a good political discussion. Smitty loved family gatherings and spent many vacations traveling to Nebraska to attend Ruth's family reunions.
He is survived by his wife, Ruth; daughters, Karen Beaman of Medford, Ore. and Kay (Bob) Glathar of Philomath, Ore.; four grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and one sister, Virginia Morrissey, of La Mesa, Calif. He was preceded in death by son-in-law, Terry Beaman.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Medford Congregational United Church of Christ choir or the Alzheimer's Association. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m., October 5, 2013 at the Medford Congregational United Church of Christ in Medford, Ore. Pastor Kurt Katzmar officiating.