Smith Howard


Howard McDonald Smith

those who knew 89-year-old Howard McDonald Smith will attest to his gentle demeanor and kindness. They know of his daily displays of dignity, fearlessness and humor, like, for instance, how he never once complained in the ten years since his 2002 cancer diagnosis, not when they removed his kidneys, not when his life upended into a routine of medicine and long dialysis hours, and not in his final days on earth. Instead he continued to play guitar (and sax) in his five ongoing bands and reveled in his other passions, such as railroads, nature conservancy and genealogy. He continued to show those close to him the absolute possibilities in the power of love, and the wisdom of never wanting more than what you have, simply by being and doing, with his wife, in his extended family, and in his friendships. Howard was fiercely intelligent, self-effacing and reserved, and he was a meticulous thinker. His unwavering work ethic taught honesty and integrity, and through cross-country road trips and mountain campouts he taught his family the value of nature and inspired respect for the people and places around them. Born in Palmyra, Mo., Howard suffered with his parents through the Great Depression. He was training as a B-24 navigator when WWII ended. After graduating the Electronic Radio Television Institute in Omaha, he accepted his first broadcast job at Tucson's KOPO-AM radio in 1951. Two years later he literally brought TV to Tucson viewers, being the city's first cameraman at KOLD-TV channel 13 and was soon promoted to chief engineer. Howard spent a half-century in Tucson broadcasting, retiring from PBS affiliate KUAT-TV in 2001. His musical life was rich too, before and after retirement. He played tenor sax in Beaver's Tucson Concert Band, from 1964 to 2009. He played in the Smith-Kline Orchestra, The Rhythm Gang, Sweetheart and Her Pals, The Bouncing Czechs, an Annual LaVerne Davis Show Band, and the Retro Swing 7. He even engineered and performed his first multi-track recording back in 1953. Howard was a true gentleman, and a quintessential family man. As he'd say, "See you in the funny papers." Howard is survived by his wife of 30 years, Lois H. George; his children by first wife Mary Remmel: Julie Smith, Barry Smith, Brian Smith, Stuart (Mussarrat) Smith, Marcia (Ed) Nicholson and grandchildren, John Sankey, Travis Smith, Blake Smith and Tulah Smith; great- grandchildren, Caroline and Evan Sankey. Surviving stepchildren are John George, Dave (Barb) George and their children, Ben and Sarah, Don George and Terry (Steve) Lord and her children, Ryan and Jeremy Cummings. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Carondelet Hospice and Palliative Care, 1802 W. St. Mary's Rd., Tucson 85745 or Tucson Concert Band, c/o Liz Beaver, 6502 E. Shepherd Hills Dr., Tucson, AZ. 85710. A Memorial of Howard's life will be held at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 5, 2013 at FUNERARIA DEL ANGEL, 7 E. University Blvd.