Eugene "Gene" Richard Smith
January 19, 1925 – January 4, 2021
SAN DIEGO, CA – Eugene "Gene" Richard Smith, age 95, of San Diego, California passed away on Monday, January 4, 2021. "Gene" was born January 19, 1925 in Oakland, CA.
Eugene was born to US Navy sailor John Elmer Smith and his wife Mabel Julia Smith. In his youth, his family moved to San Diego, CA and bought a house in the Normal Heights neighborhood. Eugene enlisted in the United States Navy two days before his 18th birthday in 1943, during World War II. He journeyed across the Pacific as a Seaman First Class aboard the USS Calamares (AF-18) and later the USS Octane (AF-26), meeting the ports of Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand, Philippines, China, and Fiji. He earned the notable remarks of Victory Medal World War II, American Area, Philippine Liberation, Asiatic Pacific Area, and the Good Conduct Medal.
After his career in the US Navy, Eugene met the love of his life: Cecilia Ann Byrne. She became his wife for many decades. Their marriage was the kind that young couples aspire to when they exchange vows: the type in which couples "grow old together." Eugene and Cecilia took month-long road trips every year to different destinations across the U.S. including Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, etc. He was a truck driver or a large department store for many years. After his retirement, Eugene and Cecilia ventured throughout the world on cruise ships, visiting Mexico, Central America, Panama, Hawaii, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Ireland, England, and France. They collected mementos including hand-painted figurines, animal sculptures, and wood carvings from far away places they had visited together. And on their 50th wedding anniversary, they exchanged vows to reinforce their love for each other.
Quite the skilled amateur photographer, Eugene would take photographs on camping trips of his family and beloved wife. Some of the fondest memories his grandchildren have with Eugene was picnics at El Monte County Park in Lakeside, CA for Easter and birthdays.
Eugene spent many days in his workshop filled with tools of craft building wooden objects for his home and his wife. Eugene loved taking long walks by the lake, appreciating wildlife (especially squirrels, chipmunks, butterflies, and hummingbirds), and collecting smooth rocks. Eugene loved to read the Sunday comics for a laugh. He collected jokes and stories.
Since 2019, Eugene was under the care of his grandson until he passed in 2021.
Eugene was a very caring and loving man who will be missed by all who knew him - family, friends, and neighbors.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.sorrentovalleychapel.com for the Smith family.