Don Smith "P.D"

November 14, 1924November 15, 2012

Paul Donald “Don” Smith

November 14, 1924-November 15, 2012

Don Smith was born in Lebanon, Missouri in 1924. He was the son of Bessie and Paul Smith. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1943-1945 and graduated from the University of Missouri in Columbia in 1950. He married Mary Ann Dunsford in 1953 and moved to Dallas, Texas where he worked for Chance Vought for 7 years. He moved to Houston in 1962 to join NASA where his career lasted for 27 years. At NASA he worked on the Gemini, Apollo, Space Shuttle, and Skylab programs. He considered NASA’s efforts to be “the greatest adventure ever attempted by man.” In 1986 with a group of other engineers, he obtained a patent for the design of a space station. After his career at NASA he started his own consulting firm where he continued to work as a structural engineer for another 10 years.

He is survived by his loving wife, Mary Ann Smith, and two children—Margaret Smith Ford and her husband John and Richard Smith and his wife Kathleen. Their son Steven Smith died in 1991. Don is survived by four grandchildren—Julie Quay, her husband Sean and their daughter Maddie, Nick Smith and his wife Cynthia, Maureen Ford and Colin Ford. He is also survived by his brothers-in- law Johnny Goodloe and Jack Dunsford and many loving nieces and nephews. The family would like to acknowledge Mary and Sheimeka Thomas who cared for Don lovingly over the past year.

We celebrate Don’s life, his love and his laughter.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Stehlin Foundation, 10301 Stella Link Rd, Suite A Houston, TX (


  • Visitation Sunday, November 18, 2012
  • Funeral Service Monday, November 19, 2012

Don Smith "P.D"

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Judy Dressendorfer

November 19, 2012

Dearest Mary Ann,
I am so sorry to learn of Don's death. He was such a fine person. My sincere condolences to you and your family. May God be with you all at this time.

November 18, 2012

Scott and I will always remember Don Smith as a man of kindness, good humor and a dry wit. It was a joy for us to know him. We extend our deepest sympathy to Mary Ann, Margaret, Richard and all the family on your loss. God bless and be with you.

Karen Bernstein

November 17, 2012

PD was a terrific mentor and friend to me. My condolences to Mary Ann, Margaret Ann and Richard, and all of PD's loving family and friends.

Tom Moser

November 17, 2012

Don was a true gentleman, friend, colleague and excellent engineer. It was an honor knowing and working with him. He will be missed. Best wishes to Mary Ann and the family.