C. Oliver Smith

April 12, 2013  

C. Oliver “Ollie” Smith, 96, of Brookside Senior Living Community, died Thursday, April 11, at Lewis County General Hospital, after a short illness.

He had been a resident of Brookside Senior Living Community for the past four years. Prior to that, he and his wife lived for over 60 years on Park Avenue in Lowville, where they raised their family. 

Born Jan. 10, 1917, in Elida, Ohio, he was the son of Dr. Charles and Zelma Smith, he graduated from high school in Lima, Ohio, and was a pre-med student at Ohio State University when he left to join the Army Air Corps in 1941, at the beginning of World War II.

Ollie completed a tour of duty as a first pilot of a B-17 Flying Fortress with the Eighth Air Force, based in England. Although he was reluctant to talk of his military duty, he flew 24 tours over Germany, four of them over Berlin, usually over fierce anti-aircraft fire. Captain Smith was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for combat missions over enemy territory, the Air Medal and Three Oak Leaf Clusters for meritorious service; he was also a Squadron Leader. Ollie continued his military career in the Air Force Reserves, achieving 35 years of service and attaining the rank of lt. colonel.

On June 6, 1943, Ollie married Vivian Green, the “love of his life”, in Lima, Ohio. The couple celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in June 2008. Mrs. Smith died in October of the same year. 

He worked in his father-in-law’s hardware store, Fowler & Green, for many years after the war before becoming a traveling salesman for the Storyhouse Book Corporation. He visited schools and public libraries selling new books and refurbishing old ones. 

He and Vivian enjoyed traveling in their retirement, either in their camper or on many cruises around the world.

Ollie was a very active community member. He was a Boy Scout leader with Troop 68 in Lowville. He was a Big Brother to Marine Cpl. Kelly Cannan, who was killed in Iraq. 

He was a dedicated member of the First Presbyterian Church in Lowville, serving as Deacon, Elder and Superintendent of Sunday School. At 95 he still drove himself to church each Sunday to occupy the front row seat that had special cushions for him.

Ollie was an active sportsman, playing tennis well into his 80’s. In 1990, he participated in the New York Senior Games, placing first in the age 70 – 74 doubles. He enjoyed both downhill and cross country skiing, golf, snowmobiling, and swimming in his indoor pool. In addition he was an avid gardener.

Surviving are three children, C. Dennis Smith (Judy), Clayton, Jan Wolski (Tom), Cambridge, and Heather Bailey (Steve), Panama; four grandchildren, Brian Smith (Jennifer), Denver, Colorado; Jill Wolski, Troy, NY; David Bailey, Seattle, Washington, and Melissa Bailey, New Haven, Connecticut; and four great-grandchildren, Andrea, Alex, Colden and Nia. 

His wife, Vivian Smith, his parents, his sister, B.J. Smith, and a grandson, Christopher Wolski, al died before him.

Ollie was a devoted husband and family man. He will be greatly missed for his wry sense of humor, his competitive pursuit of the family dominoes game, and the ability to find a “fourth” for the bi-weekly bridge games at Brookside.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to the First Presbyterian Church, 7707 N. State St., Lowville, NY 13367.

Arrangements are with Iseneker Funeral Home, Inc., Lowville. There will be no calling hours. The memorial service with military honors will take place 11 a.m. Saturday, April 20, at the First Presbyterian Church of Lowville. A gathering at the First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall will follow the service.

Condolences may be made online at www.isenekerfuneralhome.com.


Information provided by Iseneker Funeral Home of Lowville and Newzjunky, Watertown, N.Y.