Joseph Smith

Our dad, Joseph Smith began his wonderful journey called life in Vancouver, B.C. Canada on December 19, 1931, and ended his journey on Tuesday, December 5, 2023 in West Seattle, WA. He was born to Mary and Joseph Smith where he joined older sister Marion (Auntie Lala to those in the know). A few short years later, little sister Cibell (our beloved Auntie Cib) was born and completed their young Scottish family.


Life was tough growing up in the 1930’s but the Smith home was usually filled with family and friends where all were welcome to share a meal and the kids learned the true meaning of the term “we can always throw another spud in the pot.” A tradition that has been passed from generation to generation of his family. Many nights the air would be filled with the beautiful sounds of bagpipes played by our grandpa and other family members. 


Dad grew up playing ice hockey, lacrosse, baseball, and soccer, earning many awards and national recognition in soccer. He attended Tecumseh Elementary and John Oliver Secondary school, leaving school after the 9th grade, moving to Vancouver Island to work in a logging camp. The rough and tumble life of a logger didn’t offer much for a long-term future so dad joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, moving cross country to St John, Quebec. While based in Quebec dad joined the military boxing team where, according to the stories passed down to his family, he earned the nickname “Rembrandt Smith,” due to amount of time he spent on the canvas. 


During his military service dad also pursued his love of music and when he was transferred to Calgary, Alberta, he became the piano player in a 3-piece band. It was while the band was playing at a large dance hall in Calgary that a beautiful, brown-eyed girl named Marguerite LeMoal from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan caught the attention of this handsome piano player. Soon the two were inseparable and began what would become a 70-year love affair. They were married in Calgary on April 26,1954, before dad was transferred to White Horse, Yukon Territories the same year. Mum soon followed, flying to White Horse in the back of a military transport plane while pregnant with their first son, Alain.


After dad’s military service the family settled in Vancouver, B.C. where their second son Norm was born. Dad worked in the trucking industry during this time, beginning a lifelong passion for the transportation business. Dad had an offer to move up in the company in 1961 and the family moved to Seattle, Washington. Third son Monty was born later in 1961 thus completing the family.


Dad had a successful career in the freight business with Time D.C., and Crowley Maritime, before being one of the first employees at a new freight company servicing the great state of Alaska, Pacific Alaska Forwarders (later changed to Pacific Alaska Freightways). During dad’s storied career at PAF he went from being an employee to being the owner. His leadership skills and the ability to create personal relationships with employees and customers proved to be the winning formula. PAF went on to become one of the biggest names in the Alaska shipping business. When dad retired he sold the company to his sons, who carried on his legacy in Washington and Alaska. 


Dad’s leadership skills were also shown in the private sector too. He was involved in coaching youth baseball, a leader with the cub scouts and boy scouts with troop 286 in West Seattle and was one of the founding members of the West Seattle Youth Soccer Association in 1966. Youth soccer was where his true passion for coaching and getting the best from every team member really showed through. He had a unique ability to find hidden qualities in players, to bring those talents to the surface, and allow the player to succeed in ways they may never had known before. Dad’s unique gift for leading people was evident in sports and in the business world. 


Dad’s success was never measured by his own accomplishments, but by the success of those he led. From his boys, to grandchildren, to sports teams, and the great employees at PAF. All of whom dad referred to as family.


His family came to include his wife Marguerite, sons Alain, (Shelley), Norm (Carrie), and Monty. 4 granddaughters, 5 grandsons, and 4 great-grandchildren. 


Dad was preceded in death by his mum and dad, and sister Marion. Plus, many in-laws, cousins, and other family members. 


Dad will be remembered as the father, the Papa, the coach, the mentor, and as the employer who showed up. He showed up for everything and when he was in attendance there was nothing more important in his world than the person in front of him. He always brought his love, his humor, and his hugs. 


Dad always considered his family as the greatest gift anyone could ask for. His love and caring will be missed by all.


Many of you have been asking where they can send their condolences to my Mum and family. For those who personally knew my Dad, you know his passion in life from a very young age was soccer. Years ago, we started the Joseph Smith Soccer Scholarship fund at Chico State. It was his wish that we keep this going to help deserving kids go to college to fulfill their academic and athletic dreams. In lieu of flowers, we would so appreciate your donation to this fund. For a CC donation, you can click here and enter the amount in the "Other" category and note "Joseph Smith Soccer Scholarship" in the "Other Designation" at the bottom. Checks can be made out to Chico University Foundation, noting Joseph Smith Soccer Scholarship on the memo line, and mailed to: Gift Processing – 0999 California State University, Chico 400 W 1st Street Chico, CA 95928 On behalf of myself and my family, we so appreciate all the love and support that everyone has been sending. It really does help!