Steven P. Smith Capt. USAF (Ret)
September 21, 2023
It is with deepest sorrow that we share the news of the death of Steven Paul Smith of Omaha Nebraska on Thursday, September 21, 2023, aged 79. Steve died in the loving presence of his wife and son. Steve was a beloved husband, an Air Force Veteran, a father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
Born on a ferry boat off the coast of San Francisco on April Fool’s Day 1944, Steve entered the world with a bang. He grew up with a single mother in rural Tacoma, WA where he worked hard from a young age to help support his small family. Steve was a natural athlete and an avid swimmer. After high school graduation in 1963, he headed to Ellensburg, WA on a swimming scholarship to attend Central Washington State College. In one year he set several swimming records at CWSC that lasted decades and he met Kristi Lynn McDonough, the love of his life. With all the worry surrounding the Vietnam war, Kristi feared the draft and becoming a young widow. So their love was tested as Steve voluntarily enlisted in the Air Force and headed off to Vietnam with a promise of marriage on his return. By the grace of God, in January 1967, he returned safely, and they married just one month later on February 18.
In March the following year, Heidi Ann was born in Louisiana and Steve became a father which was something he’d never had. The effect it had on him was remarkable and he knew from that day on, fatherhood came first. Steve and Kristi made their way to Kristi’s hometown of Pullman, WA where Steve enrolled at Washington State University (WSU, Go Cougs!). Steve was pursuing a Business Administration degree while joining the ROTC program. After graduation in June 1969, he re-enlisted in the Air Force as an officer and shortly thereafter Michael Glen was born in Washington. Steve was delighted with his growing family. During flight school in 1971 at Williams AFB, Stephanie Lynn was born and their family was complete. Steve went on to Mather AFB in Sacramento for navigator training along with 3 months at Atlas AFB in Oklahoma. After earning his Navigator Wings, he flew on C-131’s and C-17’s throughout his service.
Steve valued knowledge and understood the opportunities a good education could provide, so he utilized the benefits of the USAF and while on active duty and earned a Master’s Degree in Computer Science. After 21 years, Steve retired from the Air Force and started working in Technology in the private sector. First as a Computer Instructor at a Community College and then for the IT team at the City of Omaha. Computer Science fascinated him and he had a keen interest in video games. When a stroke in 2009 affected his speech and limited his mobility, he retired from the workforce.
Over the last 14 years in retirement, Steve has enjoyed traveling to visit an ever-growing family in Texas, Alaska, Arizona, and California. Steve’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were his greatest joys. He never missed a chance to comfort a child or attend a school event. He loved a good double feature day at the movies, and he rode every roller coaster he ever encountered. He also never turned down a shot of Wild Turkey or the chance to get Kristi a margarita.
While death is one of life’s most challenging experiences, the immediacy of Steve’s passing has not been without grace, beauty, and humor, a testament to his vibrant spirit. His friendly eyes and boisterous laugh brought joy to every room he was in, and while we’ll always long for the sound of that laughter, it’s the impact he left on us that we will forever cherish.
Steve is survived by his loving wife, Kristi Lynn (McDonough); children: Heidi (Daryl) Vaught, Michael Smith, Stephanie (Brian) Rose; grandchildren: Stephanie K. Smith, Jolynn (Cody) Marshall, Jhonathan Paczkowski, Triston and Anna Wilson; Kody McVay, Devin, Melina, Logan and Benjamin Smith; great-grandchildren Robert Stella, Baylor and Kinsley Paczkowski, and Leondre Tiemeyer; and his adoring Bichon pooch, Goliath.
A funeral service in celebration of Steve’s life will be held on Wednesday, September 27, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. at the Church of the Holy Spirit: 1305 Thomas Dr, Bellevue, NE 68005. He will be laid to rest at the Omaha National Cemetery at 1:30 p.m.
To view a live broadcast of the service, click the link below.
A special thank you to the thoughtful and caring staff at Hillcrest Country Estate Cottages.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Church of the Holy Spirit.