Valley County, IDGenWeb Project
Dr. George Dale Smith, 86, passed away at home, peacefully in his sleep the morning of March 24, 2011.
The family will hold a memorial celebration at the old school house in Meadows this summer.
Dale, or “Doc” as most called him, was born in Kaycee, Wyo., on June 22, 1924. At age 12, he went to work breaking horses to support his mom and two younger brothers.
At 13, living at the end of the school bus route, Dale drove the school bus, picking up the other children on the way to school. He graduated from high school in Mt. Vernon, Wash., in 1942, and went to work in the ship yards, where he met and married his wife, Vera Platt. They were married on March 4, 1945.
Dale enrolled in Washington State University in September 1945 and was drafted into the U.S. Army three months later. He served one year and was released in January 1946 to restart his college education.
He graduated from WSU in 1952 with a degree in Veterinary Medicine. Upon travelling to Boise to take the Idaho state veterinary boards, Dale passed through beautiful Meadows Valley and after returning home, told Vera, “We’re going to live there someday.”
The family lived in many places across the country, as Dale had a fascinating career in research and development with the U.S. Air Force and later NASA. After graduating college, in the Air Force, Dale was stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, where he was an integral member of the Space Research and Development Team and then at Hanford Atomic Works, where he supervised field investigation studies on radiological fall-out.
In 1959, Dale was transferred from Hanford to Washington, D.C., to join the newly formed National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He served as chief of biotechnology in the Office of Space Flight Programs at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., where, among other things, he worked on the biotechnical aspects of the Project Mercury programs.
In 1961, Dale transferred to NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., where he served as the deputy assistant director for life sciences for two years before becoming the manager of experiments and life systems on the Bio-Satellite Project.
Dale retired from NASA in 1967 and worked as the program manager of Environmental Physiology and Primate Space Experiments at the University of California, Berkley, for four years.
In 1971, after their youngest child graduated from high school, Dale and Vera moved to Idaho where Doc set up his veterinary practice in Meadows Valley.
He first practiced in a small outbuilding at their home at the south end of the valley, and then later purchased the old brick school building in Meadows where he practiced for 30-some years.
Dale enjoyed visiting with clients and treating their pets. He also felt privileged to care for injured, orphaned, or displaced wildlife brought to him for treatment by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and community members.
After living in and visiting so many places, Dale felt lucky to have found Meadows Valley. He loved being able to walk out his back door to his favorite fishing hole where he spent many summer evenings teaching his grandchildren to fish.
He enjoyed animals and kept many around him including horses, miniature horses, dogs, cats, a parrot, sheep, pigs, cattle and oxen.
Doc served a term as an Adams County commissioner and was instrumental in forming the Adams County Historical Society.
He was a member of the McCall Rotary Club and enjoyed Friday meetings with fellow Rotarians. He also especially appreciated and respected his friends at the McCall Memorial Hospital lab.
Doc Smith is survived by his wife of 66 years, Vera, and their three children, Mark Smith (Renée Hill) of Meadows, Nancy Smith of Meadows, and Steven Smith (Anne Sebbelov Smith) of Copenhagen, Denmark; six grandchildren, Erin (Eric) Branstetter of New Meadows, Rye Harding-Smith of Meadows, Laurel Harding-Smith of Boise, Will Rautsaw of Portland, Ore., and Nikolas and Mark Sebbelov Smith of Copenhagen, Denmark; three great-grandchildren, Brooke Branstetter of Coeur d’Alene and Briana and Colton Branstetter of New Meadows; and great-granddog Lola of Boise.
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