Richard Dowlen Smith was born on September 20, 1938, in Lawton, Oklahoma, to Jay Franklin and Sybil Dowlen Smith. He
grew up in the small town of Walters, OK where as a young boy, he first looked up from a wheat field, saw a jet overhead, and determined that he wanted to fly. Richard flew away to his home on God’s celestial shore on Thanksgiving morning, November 28, 2019, from the memory care residence Poet’s Walk where he lived for the last seven months.
Richard loved God, his family, and the United States Air Force. He served his country for 32 years in the Air Force and graduated in 1961 in the 3rd class of the Air Force Academy with a bachelor’s degree in military science. Richard played football at the Academy. This resulted in an injury that grounded him, ultimately allowing him to more fully use his gifts of leadership, management, and logistics. In 1993, he retired with the rank of Major General. Richard loved every day of his service; his dream came true in 1989 with his assignment as commander of the San Antonio Air Logistics Center at Kelly Air Force Base. As commander, he met with dignitaries and royalty; however, what he loved most was walking through the base, meeting all 40,000 employees, sharing stories and learning about their lives. It was a sad day when he presided over the ceremony for the closing of Kelly in 2001.
Richard also served in Los Angeles; at the Pentagon; in Madrid, Spain; in Pusan, Korea; at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio for eight years; and in San Antonio for an earlier tour. The Air Force sent him to Texas Tech for a master’s degree in industrial engineering, the University of Oklahoma for a doctorate in business administration, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. After retirement, Richard worked for Sunset Resources and CACI for ten years.
Richard served in the community in many ways, including as an elder at Oak Hills Church, as president of the San Antonio USO, on many school boards, and with the Wounded Warrior Home. He worked with students at Brentwood Christian School in Austin, Texas, where he was named Grandparent of the Year. He was a much sought-after speaker from a wide variety of organizations.
Richard and Carolyn Joyce Trainer met on a blind date on New Year’s Eve in December 1959, and it was love at first sight. He asked her to marry him at 3 a.m. on January 1, 1960. They were married for 58 wonderful years; lived in 25 houses; and came to San Antonio, built a house, and lived in Fair Oaks Ranch for 25 years. In his leisure time, Richard enjoyed traveling with Carolyn, watching the Spurs, doing needlepoint, and tickling the grandchildren.
Three daughters were born on three different bases in Los Angeles. Growing up in a military family, one constant was that they always attended church where their daddy was the song leader, loving the old hymns sung in his booming voice. After they each graduated from college and married, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren were born. Richard was preceded in death by his parents, his in-laws; brothers, James and Jay; sister, Julia; daughter, Melanie Easom; son-in-law, Scott Graessle; and grandson, Richard Easom. Richard is survived by his wife, Carolyn; his brother, Bill; brother-in-law, Gary Trainer; daughter, Kaleen Graessle; daughter, Kerry Stemen and her husband Bob; grandchildren, Rob Stemen, Emily and Caleb Hughes, Jackson and Shannon Graessle, Darby and Colton Bailey, Isabelle Graessle, Genevieve Graessle, and Virgil Easom; five great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held on December 18, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. at Oak Hills Church (19595 IH-10, San Antonio, TX 78257) with Max Lucado officiating. Richard’s ashes will be placed in a memorial wall at the Air Force Academy. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warriors Projectathttps://communityfundraising.woundedwarriorproject.org/campaign/In-memory-of-Major-General-Richard-D--Smith. To leave condolences for the family, please visit www.ebensberger-fisher.com and select obituaries.
Arrangements with Ebensberger-Fisher Funeral Home of Boerne, Texas.