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Stanley Dane Smith

 SOCE/SOU Raiders, 1946.  SOU Motto: 

Character.  Strength. Honor.

Dad passed away December 29, 2015, having lived a full life with dreams and goals fulfilled. Born March 24, 1924 to Ralph and Bessie Smith in San Francisco, Calif., he was adamant he was an Oregonian, having only lived in California a few months.

His family settled in the Eagle Point area in 1872 and moved to Jacksonville in 1881. He was raised in the Applegate Valley near Ruch, with the homestead being in the family until the 1960s. He loved taking his young family to the ranch where many fond memories were shared.

In 1932 his family moved to Medford where he was introduced to the two loves of his life, our mother, Tommie Swoape, and football! The first day of school, the coach walked up to him and asked if he would like to play football. He had never seen a football game but the rest is history.

Stan and Tommie met at the ages of 13 and 14, she being a majorette and he, a football player. Leaving high school to join the U.S. Navy during WWII, while on leave, they were married October 30, 1943. After leaving the service, he attended SOCE, now SOU, receiving his bachelors degree and his masters at UofO. While attending college and playing football, he was also raising three children, working in restaurants, in bowling alleys as a pin setter, sawmills, orchards, putting on chains in the snow on the Siskiyous, carpenter work, truck driving, timber falling, and odd jobs around the school.

His teaching and coaching career began in 1951 in Redmond, then in Illinois Valley, Eagle Point, Baker, and Ashland. He was proud that he turned each program into a winning team.

The love of cooking began early; both his parents and grandmother were excellent cooks. In 1872 his great-grandparents built the Eagle Hotel in Eagle Point and their daughters were considered “very fine” cooks by guests. In 1921, his father was Chief Steward and his mother the hostess at Crater Lake Lodge. They later bought The Shack in Medford and Shady Cove.

During his coaching career, he drew football plays and wrote recipes on the same piece of paper. After coaching a game, friends came over for his after-game dinners. The restaurant career began in Baker, during football season, with a 24-foot trailer, Stan’s Drive-Up. Mom managed it during the day and Dad took over after football practice in the evenings and on weekends. In 1960 a fire at Anthony Lakes caused a need for sack lunches for firefighters. A production line was set up employing 29 teenagers from football players to cheerleaders, whomever wanted work. The stats were unbelievable for this little trailer, 44,670 sandwiches, (4500 loaves of bread), 29,780 oranges and 1 ½ tons of meat were delivered to the Forest Service in brown paper bags. Dad was so proud as the profit enabled him to buy his first “new” house for his family when we moved to Ashland.

In 1961 they purchased Stan’s A&W, again with him coaching and mom managing the restaurant. Four months later, Cubby’s was purchased becoming a major landmark in the Rogue Valley. Later, the Medford A&W was purchased.  Someone once said the ‘Burger King of Medford’ (before there was a Burger King), was going to try becoming a chef' when the Mon Desir, a fine-dining restaurant, was purchased in 1964. He took on what he thought to be his biggest challenge yet. It was something they did with ease as a team, the restaurant becoming a Top 250 dining inn in North America.

But it was the people of the Rogue Valley they wanted to serve most. After selling Mon Desir in 1980, they took over Bel Dis on the Rogue; it became another fine dining restaurant. While not only owning these establishments, Mom greeted you at the door, and Dad was in the kitchen cooking your meal. Earlier in the day he might have been adding on a banquet room or remodeling a patio or painting a fence, whatever needed to be done.

“I’m not a chef, I’m a cook."  He just wanted to serve good food. And he was always asked what the special ingredient in the fry sauce was. He used Best Foods mayo, ketchup, and a drop or two of Worcestershire, the special ingredient. It was simple, but so good.

On Thanksgiving or any special occasion, he would answer his phone with “Just add salt.” One of us was always calling to ask how to cook something; salt usually worked.

From childhood panning for gold in the Applegate, to buying penny candy at the Ruch Store, to taking their 2-ton bean crop to Medford during the Depression where no one had money to buy them, to college, the War, and back to his beloved college after retirement, his life was fulfilled. For 69 years, Mom and Dad supported their SOU Raiders, win or lose. At times there were more people on the sidelines than in the stands.

Personally contributing financially, they were principal founders of the Raider Athletic Association (since being established four decades ago has been the main lifeline for student-athlete scholarships), started the SOU Sports Hall of Fame, and hosted the first 11 Raider Club golf tournaments.

Five years ago, the football program was crumbling, but a new coach came to town and promised him a championship in four years. 2014 produced National Champions and 2015 SOU was second in the nation. SOU is now considered a powerhouse in NAIA. At 91 years old, he never dreamed he would live to see the big tailgate parties, the stands full, a new band and drumline, and outstanding players begging to play for SOU. He lived a full life, with dreams and goals fulfilled.

Stan leaves his three proud children, Dana Smith Tuley (Lonnie), Sandy Smith Trott, and Dane Smith; his grandchildren, Teresa Nichols, Jody Watkins (Wally), Bill Trott (Victoria), Katy Campbell (Chris), Tracy Richards (Dennis), Tommy Smith (Tawnee); his great-grandchildren, Cody and Justin Watkins, Riley Nichols and Will, Travis, and Austin Trott, Madison Richards, Kyle and Cassie Campbell, Brooke and Cameron Dane Smith; and his sweet puppy, Lindy.   The family thanks Nancy of Providence Hospice and, especially our Kate Smith Ludwig for being there day and night for us.

Student-Athlete scholarship donations can be made to the Stan and Tommie Smith SOU Football Scholarship Fund c/o SOU Foundation, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd, Ashland, Ore. 97520; 541-552-6127; or online at  https://giving.soufoundation.org/Contribute.asp

A pep rally/tailgate party is being planned prior to the SOU Spring Football Game April 29, 2016 at Raider Stadium, Ashland in honor of Mr. Raider. Wear Raider Red.