William L. Smith
William L. Smith
  • March 1, 1926 - December 23, 2017
  • Summerville, South Carolina

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COLUMBIA - Lieutenant Colonel (Ret), USAF, William Lynel Smith, died on Saturday, December 23, 2017. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, December 30, 2017, at Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, 3926 Devine Street, Columbia. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. The service will be followed immediately thereafter by burial with full military honors at Greenlawn Memorial Park, Columbia. A memorial service will also be held in the Chapel at the Village of Summerville, 201 W. 9th North Street, Summerville, SC, at a later date to be announced.

Born March 1, 1926, in Philadelphia, PA, William Smith was the son of the late William Banning and Mildred Stewart Smith. At age 11, the family moved to the small town of Trooper, PA, immediately across the Schuylkill River from Valley Forge. After graduating from Norristown, PA, High School in 1943, Smith enlisted in the U.S. Navy, receiving his boot camp training at Bainbridge Naval Station, MD. He was subsequently assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Monterey, then serving in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Serving continuously aboard the Monterey for the remainder of WWII, Smith participated in several major campaigns, beginning in June 1944 with the invasion of the Marianna Islands and the resulting naval air action dubbed the “Marianna’s Turkey Shoot” and ending with the formal surrender of Japan in Tokyo Bay in September, 1945.

After being honorably discharged from the Navy in May, 1946, William Smith joined the U.S. Air Force in October, 1948. He attended basic flight training at Waco, TX, and completed advanced jet fighter training at Williams AFB, AZ, receiving his pilot wings and commissioning as a Second Lieutenant on September 30, 1949. After eight months with the 55th Fighter Squadron at Shaw AFB, Sumter, SC, he was assigned to the 8th Fighter Squadron, 49th Fighter Group, based in Japan at the start of the Korean War. Lt. Smith then saw action as a USAF Forward Air Controller with the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division during the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter. Smith subsequently rejoined his fighter squadron, then based in South Korea, and continued his assignment as a fighter pilot, flying a total of 113 combat missions in the F80 “Shooting Star.” Upon returning from the Korean War, he married Joycelyn Rosetti Kirby of Columbia, SC, on July 7th, 1951. Smith continued to serve in jet fighter squadrons or in fighter staff positions for most of his career, with notable assignments as an exchange fighter interceptor instructor with the Royal Canadian Air Force at Cold Lake, Canada, and later as an Operations Staff Officer while on exchange duty with the U.S. Navy in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He also served a one year tour as the Executive Officer of the Air Combat Operations Command Post at Danang Air Base during the Vietnam conflict. Smith retired from the USAF on January 31, 1975, as a Lt. Colonel while stationed at McCord AFB, Tacoma, WA.

In late 1976, Lt. Col. (Ret.) and Mrs. Smith relocated from Tacoma, WA to Columbia, SC. He continued to fly as a civilian flight instructor and an air taxi pilot with Eagle Aviation, Inc. at Columbia Metropolitan Airport and then as a company pilot for two private organizations in the Columbia area until 1991. During his retirement years, Smith also worked as a tax preparation professional until 2004, at which time he and his wife, Joycelyn, moved to the Village at Summerville, Summerville, SC. Smith was an avid golfer and also a dedicated Barbershop Society singer in both Columbia and Summerville. He was a member of Shandon Baptist Church and later the Forest Lake Presbyterian Church in Columbia. Until his death he was an active member of the Presbyterian Chapel at the Village of Summerville.

Lt. Col. (Ret.) William L. Smith is survived by his two sons, William Kirby Smith and Steven Lynel Smith. William K. Smith is a retired Supervisory Special Agent of the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, and is currently living in Summerville with his wife, Joy Crawford Smith. William and Joy Smith have one son, Bradford Lee Ruhlman, living in Hamilton, OH, with his wife, Lindsi Ruhlman, and their children Emilie, Landon, Nevaeh and Nolan. Steven L. Smith is a retired Commander, U.S. Navy, and is currently living with his wife, Teresa Holland Smith, in Centerville, VA, with their daughters Katherine and Kristina. William L. Smith is also survived by two brothers, Richard Smith of Chalfont, PA; and Daniel Smith of Douglasville, PA. Smith is further survived by his three sisters, Doris Quinn of St. Cloud, FL; Betty Hazzard of St. Cloud, FL; Jean Malloy of Phoenix, AZ; and Jacqueline Yancik of Douglasville, PA. William L. Smith was predeceased by Joycelyn, his wife of 56 years, and his brother, Robert Smith of Spring City, PA.

Memorials may be made to the Village at Summerville Endowment Fund, 201 W. 9th North Street, Summerville, SC 29483.

Please sign the online guestbook at www.dunbarfunerals.com.