JERRY BYRON SMITH (1937 - 2019)

  • "Great guy. Good Friend. Great colleague in Vietnam and..."
    - Thomas Eller
  • "Jerry was more than a boss, he was my friend. when he told..."
    - mildred holt
  • "Jerry was a fraternity brother and great friend at CSU, in..."
    - Bob Warner
Service Information
Ascension Lutheran Church
2505 N Circle Dr
Colorado Springs, CO 80909
Memorial service
Friday, Nov. 1, 2019
10:30 AM
Ascension Lutheran Church
2505 North Circle Drive
Colorado Springs, CO
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Obituary

Smith, USAF, (Ret.)
COL. JERRY BYRON SMITH, USAF, (RET.)
November 11, 1937 October 27, 2019
Retired Colonel Jerry Byron Smith was born in Longmont, Colorado, November 11, 1937. He attended Hygiene grade school, Longmont High School and Colorado State University (CSU). He was a member of the first Longmont High School football team to win a 5A state championship and finished 7th at the state wrestling tournament in the 177-pound class.
Jerry had a deep love for the family farm in Hygiene. He was named after the best horse of the workhorse team, Tom & Jerry, best of 16 teams. He cherished the summer evenings when he was courting Carolyn and would drive to Estes Park where she worked in the summers in between irrigating the fields.
Jerry lettered in football at CSU as a sophomore and was on the varsity wrestling team that same year. He was president of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.
He married Carolyn Johnson of Niwot, Colorado, on June14, 1959. They later had two children; Brett, born 1962 and Shannon, born 1964.
Smith joined the U.S. Air Force in 1959 after completing ROTC at CSU. He flew in SAC (Strategic Air Command) and MAC (Military Air Command) for 10 years. He flew 1,600 tactical combat support flights in Vietnam in 1967-68. He earned his Master's degree in Computer Science from Southern Methodist University in 1970. During his Air Force career, Smith accrued more than 7,500 hours of flying time as a pilot, instructor pilot and flight examiner. He piloted the KC-97 plane in Bermuda, the C-124 out of McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Washington, and the C7A tactical airlift airplane in Vietnam. Additionally, he flew the C-47, C-54, VC-118 and T-41 planes.
He was assigned to the United States Air Force Academy in 1970. While at the academy, he taught cadets to fly the T-41 and logged more than 1,000 flights as a glider instructor. He spent 12 years as a computer science instructor and became a tenured associate professor. He installed five major computer systems at the academy and retired as the Deputy Chief of Staff of Computer Resources. He earned many awards throughout his Air Force career: The Distinguished Flying Cross, an Air Force Medal with three bronze oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal, a Small Arms Expert Marksmanship citation and a large number of other Air Force and Vietnam commendations.
He retired from the Air Force in 1982. He then worked as a defense and commercial contractor for 23 years. He served as Vice President of Operations at INCO, Inc., McDonnell Douglas Electronics Systems Company, SSDS, Inc., and OTS, Inc. He earned his real estate broker's license and sold real estate from 1990 to 1992. He returned to the computer network business at the Air Force Academy in 1992 where he managed multiple projects including the installation of a 10,000-drop fiber optic network.
In 2003, he bought Tranex, Inc., a custom transformer company. He served as CEO of Tranex for almost 10 years. He sold the company to Badger Magnetics and worked as a part time consultant through 2015.
His pride and joy were his two grandchildren, Justin and Alexa. Both outstanding individuals and athletes, Justin in basketball, Alexa in volleyball, currently playing professionally in Beziers, France. Smith admired their personal character and lived vicariously through their athletic achievements.
Jerry and Carolyn traveled extensively throughout their 60+ years of marriage, climbed many of Colorado's 14,000 ft. mountains and biked throughout Colorado and Europe. Jerry was an avid skier, beginning at age 10, and went helicopter skiing in Canada with his family.
Jerry is preceded in death by his father, Byron; his mother, Irene; his sister, Soni Rupp; and his brother, Bill.
He is survived by his wife, Carolyn; his son, Brett and daughter-in-law, Livia Smith of Colorado Springs; daughter, Shannon and son-in-law, Doug Freed of Grand Junction; and grandchildren, Justin and Alexa Smith of Colorado Springs.
Memorial Service, 10:30AM, Friday, November 1, 2019, Ascension Lutheran Church, 2505 North Circle Drive, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909.
The family loves flowers, however, should you prefer, memorial contributions in Jerry's memory may be made to Ascension Lutheran Church (ascensioncos.org).
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Published in The Gazette on Oct. 30, 2019
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