Theodore F. Smith, USAAC vet, government space systems consultant, patriotic, pilot, nature lover

By on June 19, 2019

Surrounded by his daughters in the early morning hours of Monday, June 3, 2019, Theodore Frederick Smith passed from this life at his home in Leesburg, Va.

Born in Lancaster on Nov. 21, 1926 to parents Lloyd and Ada Smith, “Ted” is survived by his siblings: John Smith (Dixie) and Mary Margaret Herzer (Robert), both of Lititz. Ted’s other siblings, Ruth Bomberger and George Smith, predeceased him.

Ted was married to his beloved Millee for 42 years, before her passing in 1990. Surviving are their three daughters: Lyn Loy, Leslie Smith, and Andrea Smith, all of Virginia; and two grandchildren: Kelsey Williams (Nick), and Bryan Loy.

Ted grew up in Lititz, was a member of the Lititz Moravian Church, and worked at Hamilton Watch Company. in Lancaster during his early life. After serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a bomb site mechanic, Ted earned an engineering degree from the University of Tennessee, and began a 27-year Federal Government career with the Navy Department in Washington, D.C. He worked on various projects involving ordnance development, missile and space systems, and was honored to attend several space shuttle launches. He retired from his position as space systems consultant for the Naval Air Systems Command in 1985. After his retirement, he served as a consultant with Riverside Research Institute.

A lover of flight, Ted earned his private pilot’s license in an Ercoupe, and flew many times in and out of Lancaster Airport. As a dedicated preservationist, Ted served as a team leader in 1995 with an all-volunteer group of 40 aeronautic colleagues (AIAA) to build the replica of the Wright Flyer. When the Project Wright Stuff Team completed the replica, it was displayed at the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, N.C. Ted also was a generous donor to the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy National Air & Space Museum, and had a strong early commitment to bring the Dulles center to reality for all “planelovers” to visit and enjoy.

Throughout his life, Ted had a deep reverence for nature, and he loved to hunt, fish, and birdwatch. His license plate on his truck said “Wildlife Conservationist,” and he avidly supported organizations that cleaned streams, supported national parks, and preserved natural resources. Ted felt a responsibility in his stewardship of God’s creation, which was reflected in his actions and activities.

A patriotic man, Ted flew the American flag every day. His only grandson was born on Flag Day, and received his grandfather’s military flag at his burial. Ted was committed to “keep George Washington first,” and supported the building of the Museum and Education Center at Mount Vernon, Va., so that future generations would remember George Washington’s unique place in our history.

In honor of Ted’s love of country and nature, the family suggests that memorials be made to: Veterans Honor Park of Lancaster, 315 Clay Road, Lititz, PA 17543; Trout Unlimited, PO Box 7400, Woolly Bugger, WV 25438; or The Nature Conservancy, Attn: Treasury, 4245 N. Fairfax Drive #100, Arlington, VA 22203.

A memorial service celebrating his life will be held on Saturday June 22, at the Lititz Moravian Church in Lititz, 3 p.m. Interment was held at Fairfax Memorial Park in Fairfax, Va.

Condolences and memories can be shared at Arrangements entrusted to Colonial Funeral Home of Leesburg, Va.

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