Bruce David “Dave” Smith was born August 23, 1936 in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, to Bruce I and Helen Hanna Smith. They, and his brother Ned, preceded him in death.
Upon graduation from high school, he joined the U. S. Air Force. Stationed at Stead AF Base, Reno, he was a member of the Survival school. He taught escape, evasion and survival which many POW’s returning from Vietnam valued. As a survival instructor, he had the privilege to trek from Fallen Leaf Lake through Desolation Valley back to Stead when it was pristine. He was awarded the Soldiers Medal for heroism. Service friendships he cherished.
He returned to Lock Haven to attend Lock Haven State Teachers College where he met his wife of 57 years Elaine (Wikstrom) who survives him along with daughter, Heather Ann Broderdorf, son-in-law Lance and grandchildren, Mason and Laurel whom he adored, as well as his faithful fur babies.
From a young age, he loved aviation and hounded employees at Piper Aircraft to fly with them. He was the first announcer for the Reno Air Races when it started at the Sky Ranch and later when it moved to Stead. He took up skydiving at 40 and made his last 8-way jump at 60. He treasured the friends who jumped with him.
He was always an actor performing in Reno and Carson City little theater. He had several businesses, worked in various casinos and retired from the U.S.Postal service where he clerked in Gardnerville and Minden. He borrowed from Jimmy Doolittle ” I could never be this lucky again.” He had an honest relationship with Jesus and looked forward to the answers to all his questions, especially why the avocado pit is so large.
The family wish to thank the many angels who gathered and supported him through his battle with cancer. We wish to thank Dr. Richard Yamamoto, who sparred with him and cared for him over many years; Dr. James Cunningham, who gave him 5 years of life after the first cancer; the wonderful staff and doctors at the Carson-Tahoe Cancer Center; Kindred Hospice and our neighbors and friends.
A military service at the Fernley Veterans Cemetery will be planned when Covid restrictions are lifted.
A private Celebration of Life will be held later this summer.
In lieu of flowers, if you wish to honor him, please consider donating to the Veteran’s house, Reno; DAWG, Pinenut Wild Horse Advocates or Ho’ola Na Pua Pearl Haven in Oahu.