Cover photo for George Smith Sr's Obituary
1945 George 2023

George Smith Sr

February 17, 1945 — June 21, 2023

George Michael “Mike” Smith Sr. died on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, at the age of 78, after a short, courageous battle with brain cancer. At the time of his passing, he was home in Kooskia, surrounded by his family.

Mike was born on Feb. 17, 1945, in Los Angeles, the son of George Martin Smith and Ruth Adair Smith. He was the second of five children. He graduated from Mark Keppel High School, in Alhambra, Calif., in 1962, where he lettered in football and baseball. He was awarded the Aztec of the Week award in 1961 as the school’s single-wing tailback in football. He was awarded the Alhambra Exchange baseball achievement award in 1962. Later, Mike played baseball for the Single A Pasadena Yankees. He played center field next to Mike Garrett, who would later win the Heisman Trophy for USC.

He met Marie Madeline Engledow in high school, and they married on Dec. 18, 1965. They remained married for 57 years until his passing. They had two sons, George Michael “Mike” Jr., in 1968, and Martin “Marty” in 1970.

Mike attended Pasadena City College, where he played baseball, and worked in his dad’s foundry building jet engine parts for the Boeing 747. He also worked nights for the Union Pacific Railroad. In 1966, Mike enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After receiving his basic training at Camp Pendleton, the Marines sent him to the Defense Language Institute in Washington, D.C., where he became fluent in Chinese. Mike and Marie lived in D.C. for two years in an apartment off DuPont Circle. He was later assigned to the 18th Interrogation-Translation Team, USMCR, attaining the rank of Sergeant (E-5). In 1968, they moved back to southern California, where the boys were born.

He received a bachelor of arts in geography from California State University, Los Angeles, in 1971. Mike then began teaching in the Rancho Santa Fe (Calif.) School District. In 1974, he received a master’s degree in education from United States International University. He and his wife and two sons lived in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Calif., at this time. They raised chickens and pigs, fished in Baja, Mexico, and made many trips to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.

In 1976, Mike and the family moved to Lowell, and purchased Three Rivers Motel and Resort. Located at the confluence of the Lochsa, Selway and Clearwater Rivers, the resort catered to hunters and fishermen, as well as whitewater enthusiasts and summer travelers. He would spend the bulk of his life in this capacity, finally retiring and selling the resort in 2018. The life at the resort was all-encompassing, being open to the public and in a very rural setting. He met many interesting people as guests at the resort. The family made time in the off-season to travel to the East Coast, California, Hawaii and Mexico. Mike also enjoyed fishing trips to Mexico and the Oregon Coast, as well as trips to Las Vegas.

He was appointed to the Idaho Travel Council by Governor John Evans in 1983, and served six years, including two as chairman. He helped promote tourism for the state of Idaho in this role. In Idaho, Mike taught at the Clearwater Valley schools in Kooskia, including second grade and junior high English. He also coached junior high football for many years. He eventually became the head football coach at Clearwater Valley High School in 1987. Mike’s teaching career in Idaho and California spanned 20 school years.

He retired and moved to Kooskia in 2018 after 43 years in the resort business. He liked spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren. He adored his five grandchildren and loved attending their school and sporting events. He was a very intelligent man, an avid reader with interests in politics, world history and literature. Mike was a lifelong USC football fan and hated Notre Dame, just like his father. He was a season ticket holder for Washington State University football for many years. He attended countless Vandal football games in the Kibbie Dome and was proud that two of his granddaughters were enrolled at the University of Idaho.

Mike was preceded in death by his parents, George and Ruth Smith. He is survived by his wife, Marie, in Kooskia; his brother, Chris, and sisters Karen, Sara and Ellen; and his brother-in-law, Clint (Linda) of Kamiah. He is also survived by his son, Mike Jr. (Lara) and granddaughters Martha, Luella, Ruth and Madeline, in Lowell; and son, Marty, and grandson, Max, in Kooskia; and many nieces and nephews.

To honor his request, there will be no service.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of George Smith Sr, please visit our flower store.


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