Ralph Smeed, 96, a longtime Springfield businessman died on May 19, 2022 peacefully at home surrounded by four of his children.
Ralph was born April 18, 1926, in the Eugene, Ore. home he grew up in. His parents, Ethel and Herbert Smeed had three children by the time Ralph was born, and one more daughter, Dorothy Smeed-Cramer, was born six years later. Ralph is survived by his sister Dorothy Smeed-Cramer and his children (Susan, Sally, Monty, Samantha and Sandy), nine grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and many in-laws, nieces, nephews, friends and family too numerous to list but not forgotten.
He joined the Air Force Reserves when he was 18 and was stationed in Amarillo, Texas and Hobbs, N.M. He then went on to gunnery school in Fort Myers, Fla. After his service, Ralph returned to Eugene to attend the University of Oregon’s School of Business. Ralph married MaryLou Sutton in 1950 and they were married 71 years before MaryLou passed away in November 2021. In 1958 Ralph and MaryLou bought the OK Tire Store franchise and built a tire store on the corner of 3rd and Main streets, Springfield, Ore., the former location of the old Springfield Hotel. Ralph later purchased the old Springfield City Hall and Jail property, and the Springfield Creamery property.
A longtime resident of the Eugene/Springfield area, civic duty was very important to Ralph. He was a past worshipful master of the Mason's and was an active lifetime member in the Shriners International, Eagles, Moose, Elks and Lions clubs. Many volunteer hours were spent collecting glasses, transporting organs for transplants and working with several eye clinics in Mexico, with the Springfield Lions Club. Later he served and chaired various committees at St. John's Episcopal Church in Springfield.
His free time was filled with many hobbies; traveling, golfing (four holes-in-one!), hunting and riding motorcycles with his son Monty, collecting antiques and playing banjo. Ralph was always adventurous. In 1970, he took his young family on a road trip across the United States to visit historical locations on the East Coast. Ralph enjoyed traveling and eventually traveled all seven continents after he retired. Ralph had many friends but had family and heart.
He started organizing his family Thanksgivings at a hotel in the 1960s because the Smeed family was too large to hold dinner at one family member's home. The Thanksgiving tradition continues today with close to 100 relatives attending every other year. Ralph Smeed always considered himself a lucky man. He felt that he owed his very existence to the fact that his dad was not able to book passage on the maiden voyage of the Titanic when he was returning from London in April 1921 and had to book passage on the next available ship.
A memorial service was held at St. John's Episcopal Church in Springfield.