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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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March 28, 2014     The Catalina Islander
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Memorial recalls Catalina pilot and dedicated community member BUD SMITH LEFT HIS MARK IN THE FRIENDLY SKIES AND POLITICAL FABRIC OF HIS BELOVED AVALON BY DENNIS KAISER He was a pilot, a politician, philanthropist and Boy Scout. Hugh T. "Bud" Smith exemplified those roles in his home of Catalina Island. Although Smith died last year at age 87, his passion lives on in the things he did for the city of Avalon and its people. The Island native grew up to be a dedicated public servant, always contribut- ing to his community and serving his fellow citizens. He brought his practical sense as an airline pilot to all his en- deavors. Smith loved his life on Catali- na, but he never felt trapped by it. In fact, he remained free as a bird thanks to his ability to fly - air- planes and jets. Smith grew up to follow his bliss above the clouds, in the sky. He also served on the Avalon City Council for 22 consecutive years. Sixteen of them were as the city's mayor. The community honored his dedication and the time he spent on local politics. Addition- ally, the city of Avalon at one time bestowed a special commendation upon Smith's wife. When inter- viewed by the Islander in 2006, his face revealed an impish grin as he pointed to the certificate for his beloved Marie that hung in their home amid a plethora of other me- mentos of appreciation for his ser- vice and many accomplishments. Bud Smith lived life large for nearly nine decades. "I was born on the Island and so was my wife," Smith said. "Her last name used to be Vidulich?' Smith's family includes the couple's five children, starting with Tom, the eldest, and Sheili, Denise, Mike and Charmaine. In his youth, Smith learned a strong work ethic. Bud mith at the controls of an airliner. A dedicate public servant, he spent many ears on the Avalon City Council. He was known for his practical sense oin city affairs and his affections for his home town. Courtesy photo Although "I worked in construc- tion for my dad, who was also named Hugh Smith" (which is why Smith took up the nickname Bud). His con- struction back- ground came in handy later in life when his Island home was custom built. Smith had been around the world and said "hello" to everyone twice, he loved being in his Avalon home perched high on the hillside in a friendly en- clave. Its large picture window gave him pleasure every day as he could look out upon his world from the comfort of an easy chair. The soaring view suited Smith, who loved to fly. It was also his career and he ultimately retired as a commercial airline pilot for United Airlines. "[ always wanted to fly and when the war (World War II) came along, I joined the Army Air Corps," Smith said. "By the time I got my wings, the war was over. I worked for my dad when I got out for a little while, then went to work for the airline. "When I married Marie, she said she was not sure if she wanted to spend the rest of her life living only on the Island." However, Smith's career as a pilot provided some diversion and prevented the couple from having any sense of island fever. They moved to Newark, New Jersey for a while. Then their trav- els took them to Chicago, then Denver, San Francisco and to Los Angeles - a laundry list of hubs for major airlines. "We finally moved back to the Island in the 1970s," Smith said. As an Avalon resident and commercial airline pilot, Smith commuted with his own aircraft to work at Los Angeles International Airport for about 10 years. He had several airplanes during that time. He sold his last one when he was about 80. Smith became an Avalon City Councilman in 1974, after becom- ing involved in a land issue. "I lived up on Clemente Avenue and our neighbor, a lady named Sue Harris, got me involved. A developer was planning to build 110 units aproximately ll0- feet high and about 30 feet from Smith's front door. "So I organized a homeown- ers association," he said. "We had about 50 members and we had to deal with the powers that were let- ting this happen." He and the homeowners were successful in having the project scaled back to about 64 units that were approximately 45 feet high. "We felt that was more appro- priate to what should have been allowed on the site," he said. In the issue's aftermath, Smith decided he had some talent for politics. Other residents took no- tice as well. "I had some people ask me to run for City Council," he said. During Smith's tenure as a councilman, the city of Avalon dealt with many significant issues and made decisions that affect the town to this day. "There was getting rid of the old steamer building and then construction of the Mole," Smith said. He was also very proud of his efforts in bringing the Avalon Chamber of Commerce, the city council and the Island Company together. "They really did not see eye to eye for some time," he said. Smith, Page 8 Bud Smith From page 1 Government. He was the first chairman of the vehicle review Board, served on the Planning Commjssion,.and was acting City, Manager. In addition Bud served on the Avalon City Council for 22 years, 13 years as Avalon's mayor. Bud was devoted husband and father. He and his wife, Marie, were married for 65 years. They had 5 children, Thomas, Sheili, Denise, Charmaine and Michael. Bud pursued his lifelong passions for familyl flying and atalina Island to the fullest. Bud was a man of Catalina Island who, after years of travel- ing, reminded people that there is no finer place on earth. This plaque was placed here by the members of the Avalon Lions Club who will always remem- ber Charter Member Bud Smith as One-of their own. During the dedication ceremony Bud's Son, Tom Smith, a retired airline pilot, shared some stories about his Dad as did Roger Meadows, Doug Bombard and Rudy Piltch. Everyone enjoyed a champagne toast to Bud as the plaque was unveiled to the delight of those in attendance. Thanks to Bobby Machado of the Connolly Pacific Quarry for the selection and donation of the rock. Lion Tom Jordahl for his help with his truck and mount- ing the plaque on the rock, Lion Jamie Hmielak at CIVR for the champagne, George at the Airport in the Sky for logistical support, The Catalina Conservancy for the location, and the Avalon Lions Club Board of Directors for the financial support. CARLOTA'S OF AVALON Women's Clothing CATALINA CRAFTERS Arts & Crafts Supply Store CATALINA REALTORS Real Estate CHET'S HARDWARE A little bit of everything you need CIVR Catalina Island Vacation Rentals JEWELS OF INTEREST Artist Inspired Jewelry & Gifts MR. 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