Robert Charles Smith Jr.
August 5, 1951 – June 30, 2019
Robert C Smith, known to his friends as Bob, returned to his maker on June 30, 2019. Bob was a friend to many, Poppop to 3, Dad to 2, and a loving husband to his wife Linda for nearly 50 years.
Bob grew up in Allentown, PA with his mother, Arlene and sister Monica. His humble upbringing was shared with a closeness to his cousins and Aunt Mutz who were a big part of his daily life.
After graduating from Louis E. Dieruff High School, Bob was drafted into the US Army and soon after sent to Vietnam. During his year in Vietnam, Bob had his first opportunity to work with aviation, as he was assigned as a Forward Observer and responsible for calling in and directing air support during combat operations. He was decorated for his heroism during battle and, because of him, many of his brothers in arms lived to see another day.
After Vietnam, Bob returned to Allentown and before even going home, he was set up on a blind date with Linda Garis. He was impressive in his uniform and the two of them instantly hit it off. After 14 months, they officially began their lives together as husband and wife. Their motorcycle, scuba and many travel adventures were briefly interrupted by the birth of their daughter Tammie, but soon after they just brought her along.
Bob used his GI Bill to learn to fly and embarked on a long, successful career in aviation. After receiving his pilots license, he went on to earn his commercial and instructor licenses for single and multi engine aircraft. After buying his own plane, Bob felt there was no one more able to maintain it than himself, so he earned not only maintenance ratings, but inspector ratings as well.
Seven years after having Tammie, Bob welcomed his son Timothy into his loving arms. Together with Tammie and Tim in tow, Bob and Linda left their home in Allentown where Bob learned yet another aspect of Aviation, air traffic control. From the busy McArthur center on Long Island, New York, Bob was given the most difficult situations to handle and his pilot and maintenance experience allowed him to do so with ease.
After 3 years in NY, Bob and Linda chased Bob’s dream of moving to Florida and going into business for himself. They settled into Coral Springs because of the great schools and many opportunities for their kids. At first, Bob started to teach flying, both in the air and at ground schools, including teaching classes at a local college. Soon after, he opened his own flight school. Over the years, he taught 100’s of students and fixed and inspected 100’s of aircraft making the friendly skies a safer place for us all.
Bob was adventurous, humorous and had a special gift of making strong friendships. As a young adult, Bob was certified as a dive master and made frequent trips with his many friends to the Jersey shore and warmer waters in Florida. Although he was a gifted instructor, the one student he couldn’t get to pass was Linda. Yet, she could always be found by his side, either with her girl friends, or later with her kids as well. Bob and Linda shifted their adventures for many years to focus on Tammie’s volleyball and later Tim’s baseball tournaments, going as far as Colorado to cheer them on. Once the kids graduated, Bob and Linda became expert 4-wheelers where they led trail rides all over Florida and Tennessee. They also joined Tammie and her husband Trent for family Jeeping, conquering the hardest trails in Moab and as well the famous Rubicon trail in California. In their later years, Bob and Linda downsized to 2 wheels and became active members of the local Harley-Davidson chapter. They were at home with the Romeo Riders and Lady Hogs on many social and charitable rides. They really enjoyed laying Christmas wreaths at the National Veteran's cemetery in Lake Worth, FL, which will be Bob’s final resting place.
Other than Linda, nothing brought a bigger smile to Bob’s face than his grandchildren who affectionately called him Poppop. Sara and Katie were lucky enough to have frequent visits by Poppop, including visits on their birthdays each year. Poppop enjoyed many South Florida experiences, like the Pumpkin Patch, Polar Express train ride, and Butterfly world, with Linda, Tim, Racheal and Cayden, and also loved watching Cayden, like his father, excel in baseball. The grandkids also loved their time together with Poppop at Disney where they made many special memories. Just prior to getting sick, we were lucky enough to have one last trip together, Bob, Linda, Tim, Tammie and Trent, Sara, Katie and Cayden. Bob enjoyed watching the dolphins and the sea, but also watching his family together.
Bob’s witty humor, wealth of knowledge and fountain of love will be missed by so many people he has touched in his 67 years. We are so lucky to have had him in our lives. We are thankful that in his final days, he found peace in God’s presence and take comfort in the fact that Bob is now free from pain and smiling upon us all from heaven.
The family prefers in lieu of flowers to make donations to St. Jude. Stjude.org Thanks
- Funeral Service Thursday, July 11, 2019
IN THE CARE OF