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H. Oakley Smart

"Oak" (Howard Oakley) Smart (1946 - 2009) passed away after a short illness, and is sorely missed by his family and many friends around the world.  He discovered soaring in the 1980s, and continued active participation until his passing.  Though soaring was important to him, most of his post-license flight time was gained solely at an annual weeklong soaring camp he attended annually from 1989 through 2008, in Dalhart, Texas.  It was there he gained, practiced and honed his cross-country skills, earning Silver, Gold and Diamond Goal badges along the way, plus a few land-outs, never scratching his Standard Cirrus, "Delta Whiskey" in the process.  His diamond altitude was earned in the Soaring Society of Boulder's 1-34, in wave.  Despite limiting his soaring in such a manner, he flew capably, safely and well, always within his continually expanding skill set.  He particularly enjoyed remaining aloft until forced down by absence of evening lift.

Since 1970 he lived, worked and raised his family in Boulder, Colorado, a quiet, unassuming, honest, friendly, good man, who spent most of his adult life working as a bus driver - transit and tour.  He and his wife, Louise, were also surrogate parents to neighboring children, and - judging from testimonials at a memorial service held for him - their loving, steadying, influences are being ably continued by the next generation.  Oak's curiosities, interests and skills were many: musician, amateur astronomer, active church and community member, owner and connoisseur of various classic vehicles, gadgeteer, etc.

Oak and Louise loved traveling, and had made friends throughout the U.S., Mexico, Japan and Europe.  Though forced out of "his" Dalhart motel room one year by far-traveling relatives arriving for the wedding of the daughter (or close relative) of the Pakistani (or Indian) proprietor, he was invited to - and attended - the girl's wedding reception, practically the only Caucasian present.  That was Oak...at home anywhere with his friends.  If civilization consisted entirely of people as Oak, the world would be considerably better for it.  The sport of soaring was fortunate to have his presence and participation for as long as it did.

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Posted: 2/12/2009

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