Colonel Sherman A Smith
May 25, 1916 – March 11, 2021
Marine -- Businessman -- Philanthropist
Col. Smith Born in Denver, Colorado in 1916, was school in Utah, Michigan and Washington D.C. As a decorated Marine aviator he retired in 1961 and until his death was active with the real estate management and development corporations he helped form. As president of HMS General Corporation and Secretary of Indio Industrial Park and Cliffcor Management Corporations, his major business locale was the Coachella Valley though he made clients in Orange and San Diego County.
A member of Beta Theta Pi, he graduated from the University of Utah and the George Washington University School of Law. He resigned as a reserved U.S. Army Commissioned Officer in 1940 and entered the Marine Aviation Cadet Program. During his military career Smith received combat awards; Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and Air Medal. His other decorations included the Brazilian order of Naval Merit. While Clare Booth Luce was the American Ambassador in Rome, he was assigned there as the U.S. Marine Attache. During his military career he had the singular experience of being asked to serve as personal aide and administrative assistant by two Chiefs of Naval Operation and later by the Commandant of the Marine Corps.
With his wife, Lady, he made Newport Beach their home for 34 years. During this period he and Bill Mirams developed properties in the Newport-Irvine industrial complex, created Cyprus Shore in San Clemente and Indian Springs in Palm Desert. He was a member of the Rotary Clubs in each of those locations and was active with the 552 club and Irvine Coast Country Cluf in Newport Beach.
Col. Smith was on the committee that helped incorporate the city of Plam Desert. He was a major benefactor of and had a long time association with the Living Desert; serving as President of the board and was honored as it's trustee emeritus in 2007. He will long be remembered for his service and devotion to that internationally recognized zoological and botanical park.
"Sherm" and Lady made La Jolla their primary residence in 1992. The San Diego Opera Association and the San Diego Zoological Society became early recipients of their generosity as did the Marine Military Academy and the Braille Institute.
Lady Smith, his wife of 79 years continues to reside at Pacific Regent in La Jolla.
Sherm suggested donations be made to the Living Desert, 49-700 Portola Ave., Palm Desert, CA 92260
Colonel Sherman A Smith
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April 17, 2021
Sherm was the most loyal human being I have ever encountered; Whether to his wife, to the Corps, to his business or his partner. He was always there and always did more than was expected. As his partner I enjoyed a working relationship for many years. His many contributions to other causes are remarkable. He made a very positive contribution to the world. We need more people like Sherm.
March 30, 2021
So many fond memories of working with Sherm at HMS Real Estate in Palm Desert during the 70's and 80's. We had a great team and I appreciated his kindness and guidance as a young working Mother with two small children. I will never forget the Christmas Card of him and Lady at the Great Wall of China and I thought that is something I would love to do some day (I did!). The world was a better place because of Sherm Smith, Rest in Peace my Friend.
March 30, 2021
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The example that Sherm demonstrated as a husband was one that my husband and I especially appreciated. Sherm’s love and respect for Lady was unwavering. He loved her deeply, valued her as a woman and partner in life and cherished their nearly 80 years together as husband and wife.
Sherm had a brilliant mind and the amazing desire to use it to better the world around him. This led to an outstanding military career and an exceptional career in real estate development following that. But it wasn’t just his successes that impressed us so much, but his genuine, approachable and unassuming nature and his incredibly giving spirit. Over the years, Sherm and Lady have selflessly supported more worthy causes than we could even begin to mention. Countless lives will continue to benefit from his generous spirit.
We will always cherish precious memories of a life well lived and a life well loved.
March 30, 2021
I am deeply honored to be related to Sherm through Lady’s side of the family. My husband and I have been so fortunate to be able to spend a great deal of time with Sherm and Lady over the years. We have both been without our fathers the last 25 plus years and we feel especially blessed to have had Sherm to fill this void in our lives. Until his passing, we really had not realized what a huge role he played for us in this capacity. He always made time for us, was a constant source of encouragement and a deep source of wisdom. We deeply admired how Sherm lived his life-- in a way that made us want to strive to improve ours and to create a legacy to pass on such as he did. I know without a doubt that Sherm touched the lives of many and that his legacy will continue to touch lives and bless others for years to come.
We have always appreciated and admired so many things about Sherm. Besides his noble character, at the top of the list was his eternal optimism in all things, an enormous contributing factor in his longevity. Even during some of his biggest health challenges, he remained firmly optimistic. When we would visit by phone, we would always ask how they were doing and Sherm would say, “Doing great considering our mileage.”
Sherm’s wit and cander were unsurpassed. I recall when he went to lease his last BMW automobile at age 100 how he laughed at the expression on the sales person’s face when he told him he wanted to sign a new lease. I also remember a couple years back when we were helping him set up his google account for his iphone and we had to type in his birthday, Sherm laughed so hard and made the comment that they would probably call him to verify that it was correct. How amazing, by the way, that someone 100+ years would be able to use modern technology. This is yet another thing we so admired-- his ability and his desire to learn about and accept new technological advances. We cherish the emails received from him.-continued next post-