Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Commander Robert Lee Smithhart Jr, 83, USNR (retired), passed away on Sunday, Apr 15, 2012, peacefully at home.

Kent, WA – Commander Robert Lee Smithhart Jr, 83, USNR (retired), passed away on Sunday, Apr 15, 2012, peacefully at home.

Memorial Service: 11:00 am, Saturday, Apr 21, at Cornerstone United Methodist Church, Covington. Visitation: Friday, Apr 20, 12:00-4:00 pm at Edline-Yahn & Covington Funeral Chapel, 27221 156th Ave SE, Kent. Interment:  11:00 am, Monday, Apr 23, at the Tahoma National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor Robert may send memorials to Union Gospel Mission at, Missionary Aviation at, World Vision at, or World Relief at

Cdr Smithhart was born in Greenville, MS, on July 16, 1928, to Robert Lee Smithhart Sr and Evelyn Pickett Smithhart. Bob went into the Marines after graduating high school. When he returned home after his stint of duty, he attended Sunflower Junior College. He attended naval school in Pensacola, FL in 1949, which included an assignment in Corpus Christi, TX.  He received his first squadron assignment at Whidbey Island, WA. Throughout his career in the Navy, Cdr Smithhart flew numerous aircraft including the B25, P2V, and Corsair. His service took him to Japan, Kodiak, and Spain.

Bob was a commercial airline Captain for United Airlines, retiring in1988.  He started his 33 year career with United as a First Officer and retired as a B747 Captain. He flew legendary aircraft such as the DC3, Convair, DC6, DC7, B720, B727, DC10 and B747.

He was the founder of the Flying Disciples Club, where he instructed 128 young aspiring missionary pilots.

After retirement, he remained at Crest Airpark in Covington, WA. He served on the finance board with Cornerstone United Methodist Church; mentored several Sudanese refugees; founded a computer program at Thomas Academy; assisted with computer classes at Cedar Heights Junior High; continued to work on a variety of airplanes, cars, and boats; and walked several miles daily as long as his health would allow.

Bob was an intelligent, quiet, thoughtful person with many abilities which he developed for the good of others as well as himself.  He knew the sound of a well-tuned engine and loved to work with his hands to achieve that sound.  He had a passion for God, his family, his friends, and his country.

Robert Smithhart married in 1953 and had 2 sons and 1 daughter. In1975, Cdr Smithhart married Priscilla Kampa of Grenville, SD and had 1 son and 1 daughter.

Survivors: His wife of nearly 37 years, Priscilla T. Kampa-Smithhart, sons: Richard L. Smithhart (Kathryn), James R. Smithhart (Sissi), and Carter L. Smithhart (Lisanna), daughters: Jenny Ann Dibley (Doug), and Noelle Sierra Smithhart; brothers: John Smithhart and Thomas Smithhart; sisters: Yvonne Bennett, and Mary Evelyn Smithhart; granddaughters: Michelle Leigh Dittamore, and Audrey Louise Smithhart; grandsons: Colin J. Dittamore, Sam R. Smithhart, and Scott W. Smithhart; great-grandson Grayson A. Newte; and other family members and loved ones.  Robert was preceded in death by his parents and brothers W. Leroy Smithhart and Richard A. Smithhart.

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