Dr. Orville F. Smith, O.D., 92, passed from this world on 11/08/2020 from complications of cancer.
He was born 12/28/27 in Millarton Township, North Dakota where he spent most of his childhood. The family later moved to southern California to care for a relative. It was here in California, at the age of 17, that Orville joined the U.S. Maritime Service, where he served as a Seaman First Class on a ship carrying supplies to navy ships. He then departed this service and joined the California Army National Guard. He served his country in this capacity for a year before transferring to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. He was especially proud to be a Marine. His unit was activated at the start of the Korean War and attached to the First Marines Division to provide Artillery support. While in Korea, his unit participated in the Wonsan-Hungnam-Chosin Campaign as well as the South and Central Korea campaign. After the Chosin Reservoir campaign, he vowed to never be cold again!
At the conclusion of the war and his honorable discharge, he took advantage of the GI Bill and successfully pursued a degree in Optometry. Upon graduation, he was given a list of cities needing eye doctors. Deming, New Mexico was one of the cities. He came home and told his wife Blanch that he would be headed to Deming the next day to set up a practice. He left his pregnant wife with his folks and headed to Deming where with the help of people like Dr. Paul Feil, was able to set up an office. He slept on a cot in the back room of his new office until he could earn enough to rent a small house. He took off to California to pick up his wife and newborn son and moved to New Mexico. He went on to develop a successful practice thanks to the good citizens of Deming and Luna county. He retired after approximately 40 years.
Orville loved hunting and fishing on his off time. His pursuits took him to Africa many times as well as British Columbia, Alaska and Ontario. His greatest love though was pursuing birds of any species behind dogs that he had trained himself. He especially liked dove and quail hunting in Luna county with family and friends.
He was a dedicated husband to Blanch for 63 years. He was a beloved father to his three kids and was adored by his 6 grandkids and 3 great grandkids.
He was preceded in death by his parents and both siblings, Bob and Jim. His loving wife Blanch passed in 2019.
Orville, “Doc” to his friends, is survived by his son, David (Joni) Smith of Craig, CO; His loving daughter, Patty (Wayne) Ciccotelli of Deming, NM. Another daughter, Sandy of Deming, NM. Grandkids, Jed (Ashley) Smith of Tucson, AZ. Jaclyn (Conrad) Ley, of Albuquerque, NM. Megan (Tad) Behrens of Grand Junction, CO. Cody and Brandi Creager of Deming, NM; Great Grandkids, Cade Behrens, Micah and Virtie Rose Ley.
It is his wish to be buried with military honors at Fort Bayard National Cemetery. These services will be held at a later date when Covid restrictions are eased.
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