Douglas Robert Smith
Douglas Robert Smith was born in Cedar Creek on Oct. 4, 1918, to Sophia Voss Smith and Hiram Clinton Smith.
He passed from this life on Thursday, March 28, 2019, at age 100. Doug lived a full life and brought joy, comfort, and happiness to his family and community. He lived in Rockdale for most of his life and worked as an accountant for Alcoa for 30 years.
During Doug’s childhood in Cedar Creek, his family owned and operated a farm and general store and they lived in a two-story house behind “Martin’s Store.” He learned the value of hard work early. One of his many chores was “burning pears,” a process that employed a device that funneled kerosene fumes that were ignited and used to burn the spines from prickly pear cactus to provide feed for their cattle.
He studied engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio, but World War II interrupted his studies.
He worked for Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, California, in the early years of the war. After learning to assemble planes, he organized and delivered carts of airplane parts to Douglas Aircraft’s crews who were assembling the planes.
He decided to enlist in the Army Air Corps in 1943 and hoped to become a pilot. However, his optical exam ended his hope of flying. After a series of tests, the Army Air Corps asked him to become a cryptographer. He accepted and trained for that role. From 1943 to 1945, he coded and decoded secret military messages in the Pacific as the United States prepared to invade Japan. After Japan surrendered, he was stationed in Hokkaido, Japan and spent time in Tokyo. At the war’s end he had been promoted to the rank of First Sergeant.
After World War II, he married Natalie (Goodwin) Smith and became a deputy sheriff in Lockhart.
In 1952 he took a job in Rockdale at the Alcoa plant which was under construction at that time. After their daughter, Carol Lynn Smith, was born in 1953, Doug continued to work as a construction accountant for Alcoa and was transferred from Rockdale to three cities where Alcoa was constructing plants to manufacture aluminum: Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; Maryville, Tennessee; and Evansville, Indiana.
In Evansville, he and Natalie divorced, and Doug met his wife of 55 years, Florence Elizabeth Smith, a widow with two children, Jack Ronald Heflin (known as Ronnie) and Florence Lynn Heflin (known as Lynn).
He and his new family moved back to Rock-dale, where he and Florence raised Ronnie and Lynn Heflin.
Doug was active at St. John’s Methodist Church, the Lions Club and was a volunteer who helped construct bookshelves and display cases for the Lucy Patterson Library in Rockdale.
Ronnie died tragically in 1981 and was survived by his wife Karen Heflin and their two children Raymond and Heather Heflin.
After Doug retired from Alcoa in 1982, he and his wife Florence made numerous trips to explore the continental United States, plus Hawaii and Alaska, and his stepdaughter Lynn Oldham and her daughter, Lindsay, often accompanied them. Doug and Florence also traveled to Canada and Europe.
After his wife’s health began to fail in 2015, they moved into assisted living in Round Rock and his wife Florence passed away on July 7, 2015.
Throughout his life, Doug was devoted to exercise to retain his mobility and health. He played golf until age 93 and then joined Snap Fitness Gym in Rock-dale, where he worked out three times a week. He continued to exercise daily when he moved into assisted living. His good health allowed him to make several memorable trips in 2015 and early 2016.
On Oct. 9-10, 2015, he joined 51 other World War II veterans on an Honor Flight to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. He was accompanied by James Pittman, an Austin police officer, and the two men kindled an instant friendship. Doug said it was a trip of a lifetime.
He was also able to visit family in Louisville, Kentucky accompanied by his stepdaughter Lynn Oldham in November 2015. He and his daughter, Carol Lynn (who also goes by “Lynn”), were able to travel to Phoenix, Arizona in January 2016 for the memorial service for his younger brother, Dan C. Smith.
Doug loved children and delighted in his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He is survived by his daughter, Carol Lynn Smith and her husband, Steve Mudge; as well as his stepdaughter, Lynn Oldham, who he considered his daughter in every way.
He is also survived by his granddaughter, Lindsay (Oldham) Marriott, her husband Josh and their two children, Payton and Laynie; daughter-in-law, Karen Heflin; grandson Raymond Heflin and wife Cristy; granddaughter Heather Heflin; grandson Chris Mudge and wife Lindsey; granddaughter Melissa Mudge Rich and husband Terry; and 14 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.
A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, at Phillips & Luckey Funeral Home in Rock-dale with Rev. John Seaton officiating.
Visitation will be on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Interment will be in I.O.O.F. Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made in Doug’s honor to either St. John’s United Methodist Church in Rock-dale; Honor Flight Austin; or Hospice Austin.
The family wants to thank the staff and management of The Point at Cedar Park Assisted Living, Kevin Johnson (care giver), Sharon Lenz (physical therapist), and Hospice Austin for the loving care they gave Doug during his final journey.