In memory of my father, Lloyd V. Smith

My dad flying

In memory of Lloyd V. Smith

January 31st 1952 – May 14th, 2006

Lloyd loved fixing and building things. He built cars, he fixed cars. He built airplanes and he fixed airplanes.  But I believe when he dreamed, he dreamed of flying.  At the age of 23, Lloyd took his solo flight at Ferguson’s in Pensacola, FL. It was February 28, 1974 and Lloyd was attending the University of West Florida. He had met Arleen, the woman he loved. Soon they would be married and have a wonderful daughter, Sandy.  The family grew together, constantly in the midst of sounds and smells of Lloyd's latest project – be it a Corvette or a Skybolt. 

Lloyd Vincent Smith was born in Louisville, Kentucky on January 31, 1952.  As the oldest of four children in an Air Force family, he lived in a number of places including the Philippines, Kentucky, Texas, and Florida.  He was a 1970 graduate of Choctawhatchee High School in Ft. Walton Beach and from Okaloosa Walton Junior College in Niceville, Florida in 1972.  Lloyd completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology in 1975 from the University of West Florida in Pensacola.  He served with the Navy and was stationed on the USS Lexington in Pensacola and was a later employed at the Naval Air Station as a Civil Service employee in the electronics division. Lloyd was an active member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and past Chapter Advisor for SAE for a number of years before relocating to the Atlanta, Georgia area.  At the time of his death, Lloyd was a senior staff engineer at Nestle-Purina.

Everyone looked to Lloyd for answers about how to fix things. Fix cars, fix radios, fix lawnmowers, fix computers, fix relationships.  If you couldn't fix it yourself, he would fix it for you.  Lloyd would take the time to listen and help his friends with the big questions. Should I buy this car? Should I take this job? Should I move here or there, should I quit school, should I go to school. Should I get married? In these ways Lloyd was everyone's big brother and was always there for them. He was very much loved by those close to him.

He never stopped loving to fix things and build things. He never stopped dreaming. He never stopped loving to fly.  We lost Lloyd while he was doing what he loved.  And we will never stop our loving him.

He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Arleen Smith of Newnan, Ga. and his daughter, Sandy Smith who resides in Atlanta, Ga.  Additional immediate surviving family members include his mother, Corine Smith, Ft.Walton Beach, FL; and siblings Alice Batzel, Brigham City, UT; Kathy Hebert, Destin, FL; and Dennis Smith, Oakton, VA.

– Neil Seeley

1985

5 years ago today, I lost my father. He went for a flight after Mother's Day brunch, experienced an engine failure, and was killed on impact when his plane fell from the sky. This was a horrible day for my family, but over the years we have grown closer by working together and staying positive.

My father's death was an awful thing for me, but I don't want to dwell on the sadness. Instead, I'd like to focus on remembering his spirit. My dad lived a wonderful life, filled with adventure, positivity, hard work, and he followed his dreams. He was a great father and truly one of the most amazing people I've ever known, and I feel incredibly lucky to have had him in my life for 23 years. I will always remember him teaching me that it's always worth pursuing your dreams and that all things are possible with a little hard work, planning and ambition. I think of this every day and aspire to be as hard working, honest and positive as my father.

Life is too short to not live it to the fullest, but sometimes it's shorter than we think… so please take hold of yours and make it everything you've dreamed of. Remember it's the experiences we create through out it all that make life special. 

On that note, one of the last things my dad discussed with my Uncle Dennis was this: 

When I last talked with Lloyd a couple of weeks ago, he summed things up by telling me:

"We are awful proud of Sandy getting ready to complete college…
Things are great with the family…
Things are great at work…
And I'm having the time of my life messing around with these airplanes…
What more could I ask for?"

Indeed… How many of the rest of us could sum up our current situations with a similar statement of complete contentment ?

We should all be so lucky. 

 

A few photos of my father over the years and some of the things he built:

My mom and dad

My mom and dad.

 

More after the cut…

My dad and I

Photo of my father during college, and a picture of us at my Father/Daughter dance for Girl Scouts.

My family - age 19

Family photo when I was 19.

One of my dad's cars

His 1967 coupe drag race car he built.

My dad and one of his motorcycles

One of his favorite motorcycles.

My dad and his plane

His red Skybolt biplane.

Pitts biplane

His Pitt's Biplane he was building… I always really loved this one because it had the 3 diamonds like my arm tattoo and I helped him work on it a few times. Unfortunately, he died before he could finish it, but I cherish the fact it's something we shared together.

1964 roadster corvette

A 1964 roadster corvette… I think this was my favorite out of all the cars he built! So cool.

My dad and I with my cousins

My dad and I with my cousins Lauren and Kara.

Family - age 21

Family photo at age 21.

My dad being goofy

This was the last photo I ever took of him… We were at a party together at the local airport he flew at, and someone brought their bird. It hopped on my dad's shoulder and we were both so shocked and couldn't stop smiling. I still can't believe he let it sit there! He was always so funny.

 

In loving memory… Dad, you'll always be in my heart.

-Sandy