Cover photo for Earl Smith's Obituary
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1930 Earl 2023

Earl Smith

March 13, 1930 — October 23, 2023

Earl R. Smith passed away peacefully on October 23rd, 2023 after a full and adventurous life. Born in Chicago, Illinois to Theodore (Ted) and Mary (Schieble) Smith on March 13, 1930, he was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

He graduated from York High School in Elmhurst, where he met his future wife, Althea Rautenberg, in 1948. He was a star athlete, excelling in baseball, basketball and track as well as being a decorated Scout. Earl attended Illinois-Navy Pier and then transferred to the University of Illinois in Champaign where he received both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Engineering.

Earl and Thea were married on November 29, 1952 in Elmhurst, Illinois and celebrated their 70th anniversary last year. After finishing his Master’s work, Earl was conscripted into the U.S. Army and stationed in Toledo, OH for two years during the Korean Conflict. Upon being discharged, Earl went to work for The Dow Chemical Company and his 35-year career took them to Midland (MI), The Netherlands, Texas, Chile, Brazil and California. Post-career, he offered his engineering expertise to small, start-up firms in Mexico, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Egypt and The Republic of Georgia, on a pro bono basis.

Earl and Thea retired in Arizona, where he continued to play softball & golf into his late 80s. His sole   hole-in-one came at the young age of 87, six months after his Cubs won the World Series. When not travelling, Earl enjoyed having projects to do around the house and experimented with woodworking, jewelry- and clock-making and working with stained glass along with photography. To escape the heat, they summered in Michigan where he also enjoyed boating and other lake activities.

Survivors include: a sister, Marilu Anderson of Mauston, WI; a son and daughter-in-law, Greg and Beth Smith of South Carolina; and a daughter and son-in-law, Rebecca and Kurt Faust of Michigan.  He has five grandchildren: Ashley Smith of Missouri; Christian Smith of South Carolina; Daniel (Chessie) Smith of Kentucky; Alex (Ally) Faust of Michigan; and Andrea (Alex) DeVries of Michigan. In addition, he has four great-grandchildren: Mac & Cam Faust; and Evelyn and Eddie DeVries.

His beloved Thea predeceased Earl by 76 days  He was also predeceased by his parents and his brother, Robert Smith, as well as his mother-in-law, and sisters-in-law, Peggy (Ray) Speth and Lois (Bill) Matheson and their husbands.

A Memorial Service for both Earl & Thea will be held on Friday, November 10th at 10AM MST in The Church at Litchfield Park, AZ. The event will be “live-streamed” at this link:

In lieu of flowers, donations in Earl’s memory can be sent to:

West Valley Symphony

P.O. Box 7328

Surprise, AZ 88374-0105

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Earl Smith, please visit our flower store.


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