A Utah educator and journalist, Dr. Oliver R. Smith, died December 13, 1990 in Provo at the age of 77.
He was born March 8, 1913 at Davenport, Iowa to Hyrum and June Bushman Smith. His early years were in Snowflake, Arizona, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada and Salt Lake City. He married Barbara McKay on April 6, 1942 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple.He attended the University of Utah, 1932-34; received the A.B. degree from Brigham Young University, 1938; and the Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, 1951. He served an LDS mission in the Eastern States where he co-authored the first pageant at the Hill Cumorah, 1936, and was managing director of the "America's Witness for Christ" production in 1937. His later church service included high councilor, Provo East Stake and BYU 6th and 8th Stakes; member of the Sunday School general Board; and ward high priest group leader.
He was a news staff member for the Deseret News, Salt Lake Tribune, Provo Herald, and KLRA (Little Rock, Arkansas), and was professor and department chairman of journalism and communications at BYU, where he retired in 1978. He was a founding member of the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists-Sigma Delta Chi; National president of Kappa Tau Alpha, a journalism scholarship society; vice chairman of the National Council of Colleges Publication Advisers; and editor of a quarterly, The Journalism Educator.
He served four years in the Army during World War II, including duty as a captain in the headquarters of Far East Air Forced in the Philippines and Japan. He retired as a colonel after 27 years service in the Air Force Reserves with duties as a squadron commander and Air Force Academy liaison coordinator for Utah.
In community service, he was national president of the Sons of Utah Pioneers, state president, national vice president and Historian General of the Sons of the American Revolution, and a staff officer in the Mormon Battalion association. He was a charter member of the Provo Golden K Kiwanis Club and a recipient of the George Washington honor medal from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.
Survivors include his wife, Barbara, of Provo; sons and daughters, Mrs. J. Howard (Barbara Kay) Rytting, Lawrence, Kansas; Mrs. Charles A. (Olivia Lea) Baird, Las Vegas, Nev.; Kenneth M. Smith, Mesa, Arizona; Ronald M. Smith, Provo; Mrs. Richard L. (Rebecca) Snyder, Mt. Vernon, Washington; Mrs. Reed (Deborah June) Nelsen, West Jordan; Mrs. John K. (Dorothy) Gillespie, Washington, Utah; and Richard M. Smith, Lewisville, Texas; 50 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; brothers and sisters, Marvin E. Smith, Mrs. Ellsworth M. (June A.) Clark, Salt Lake City; and Virgil B. Smith, Provo. He was preceded in death by a brother, Don Hyrum, and two sisters, Dorothy Clark and Lois Whitaker.
The funeral will be held at noon, Monday, December 17, at Provo 13th LDS Ward, 945 East 700 North. Friends may call at the Berg Mortuary of Provo, 185 East Center, Sunday, December 16, from 6-8 p.m., and at the church one hour before the services. Burial will be in the Provo City Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the BYU Department of Communications Scholarship Fund.
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