George Ronald Smith, formerly of Brookeville, Maryland, turned a nice, even 88 years of age on the last day of his life July, 15, 2013. He died as he predicted, of “natural causes.”
George was born in 1925 to Laura K and George B Smith in Dundee, Illinois and grew up on the family farm. He graduated high school from St. Meinrad Seminary in St. Meinrad, Indiana. Upon graduation, George enlisted in the US Army, and served in the Army Air Corps in Takarazuka, Japan and Fairbanks, Alaska. When his tour of duty was complete, George enrolled in Northwestern University earning a BS in Mechanical Engineering. While interning with Bell Aircraft he met and fell in love with Lois, also an engineer at Bell, when he cleverly asked her if she had change for a dime so that he could buy a Coke. George and Lois shared Cokes for the next 60 years!
His career with various mechanical engineering companies took him from Syracuse, NY to Silver Spring, MD, Toledo, OH, then finally back to Maryland. In 1967 he and Lois formed Industrial Air Conditioning Company which became a successful commercial HVAC contractor throughout the Washington, DC area.
Having never quite forgotten his farming roots, George and Lois purchased a small farm in Brookeville, MD in the mid 1970’s. He acquired, restored and used antique farm machinery at Sunnybrook Farm and especially enjoyed putting on threshing demonstrations at local community events.
From his early years raised with 7 siblings in a staunch Catholic family, his faith remained a strong fixture in his life.
He enjoyed singing in the choir of St. Peter’s Parish during the years spent in Maryland, where he was active in study groups, religious education, and other parish activities, especially those involving building and maintenance.
In the early 1980’s, George began to concentrate his engineering efforts on solving the problem of ice and frost build up in refrigerated warehouses. He used his mechanical engineering degree as well as his good old fashioned farmer’s ingenuity to develop and patent the HCR, Air Curtain.
In 1991 with most of his kids either already living in Montana or headed that way, George became in his words “a falling leaf in a flowing stream.” He moved his newly formed business, HCR, Inc, (named after the unique Horizontal, Curvilinear, Recirculatory air-flow pattern in the doorway) to Lewistown. HCR, Inc. continues to provide safe and energy efficient doorway solutions to the industry today.
His passion to keep old time farming ways alive led him to donate his entire collection of antique farm equipment to the Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission for their historic farm upon his departure to Montana. Once in Montana, George and Lois settled into ‘Sunnybrook Farm – West” on the divide East of Lewistown where he enjoyed establishing a garden and orchard and just “puttering around” the place. After the move to Montana, George concentrated his efforts on building the success of HCR, Inc. and was always eager to have an audience to which he could explain the principles of psychrometrics!
George leaves behind Lois, his devoted wife of 60 years, children Mary Ellen Hendrickson (Matt Paton), Eileen (Randy) Crittenden, Pete (Margaret) Smith and Becky (Mel) Jackson, Grandchildren Jason (Whitney) Hendrickson, Burke Hendrickson, Jeanne Crittenden, Maria (Hunter) Calloway, Rebecca, Rose and Matt Smith and Jamie, Katie and Robbie Jackson, as well as four great grand children. Also siblings Jeanne Shipley, Cyril and Dan Smith as well as many cherished nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings John, Orville, Peggy and Mary Ellen and a great grandson.
A Vigil Service celebrating George’s life will be held Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 7 pm at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Lewistown, Montana. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 am Monday, July 22, 2013 also at St. Leo’s. Internment with full military honors to follow at Mt. Calvary Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to Hospice of Central Montana, Mt. Calvary Cemetery or the charity of your choice.
Creel Funeral Home is assisting with the arrangements. Condolences for the family can be expressed at www.creelfuneralhome.com