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David Martin Smuts

David Martin Smuts lived and loved to the fullest. (18 May 1944 – 1 December 2021). He was born as the eldest of five in Andrews, Indiana, to Rex and Mary. He made his way to California via the US Navy. While stationed in Lemoore as an aviation mechanic, he met the mother of his children, Maria. They moved to Los Angeles where their children, Julie and David Andrew were born. Always curious and questioning, David was quickly spotted by management at Hughes Aircraft and brought in as a designer for components on several space missions, including the Surveyor robotic spacecrafts sent to the moon for exploration. As his daughter grow and his was on the way, David insisted that the San Joaquin Valley was a better place to raised a family, so they stacked the truck to overflowing and with a new baby boy in arms, returned to Hanford and then on to Visalia. Over the many years there, David repaired motorcycles, managed a Shakey’s pizza parlor and manufactured Sierra Safes, as he called them. His passion for motorcycles, whether he was riding motor cross or just out cruising, remained throughout his life. After his hip replacement and strict instructions, not to get on a bike again, he bought a new Triumph. He recently enjoyed a factory tour with his family in the United Kingdom where both his children and grandchildren resided.

Long after his safe business, the Sierras became a central focus for him. He was looking for a place where nature was in charge and people look each other in the eye, which lead him to Quincy. David did a bit of gold panning, served as a volunteer fire fighter, and drove for Pew Logging, Sierra Pacific, John Wheeler and in Truckee for TNT.

His greatest achievement in his time there, was meeting and marrying Paula Jamison. They enjoyed 18 years together. You couldn’t say that she tamed him exactly, but she definitely polished up his best bits. Her family embraced him as their own. he dearly loved daughters Liz and Michelle, along with her husband, Rob. David and Paula made the most of living in God’s playground; boating on the lakes, snowmobiling through the trees and taking opportunity to hook up the fifth wheel and explore places even more rural than their home in Crescent Mills. They also took flight (beyond his private piloting excursions of the past) and spent time with David’s siblings: Tom, Rick, Alice and Robin in Houston, TX. Enough time to be dubbed honorary Texans. But that wasn’t the only thing he collected. Much further afield (on the golf course — no surprise), his UK friends named him “The Legend”.

The Legend will not easily be forgotten. David was generous to a fault, laughed like Sponge Bob, was soft-hearted and hard-headed.

Thank you to his adopted family for all the love and care you gave him and continue to give Paula; including Steve and Carmen, Jarod, Ginger and Tom as well as everyone at The Mount Huff Golf Course, who will host a gathering to celebrate his life later in the year.

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