Colonel Norman Smith, USAF RET, 81, of Beech Mountain, NC, passed away peacefully at his home on February 26th, 2012. Norman was born in Seattle, Washington on October 1, 1930 and graduated from the University of Washington. While in school, he was enrolled in ROTC and went on to join the United States Air Force. He became a decorated fighter pilot, flying 506 jet fighter combat missions during the Vietnam war.
The Air Force Time reported that this was the greatest number of jet fighter combat missions ever logged in the history of the United States Air Force. During his service, he was awarded the Nation’s third highest award, the Silver Star for bravery, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, and numerous other awards. After retiring from the Air Force, he became the General Manager of Beech Mountain ski resort, and was the first to make skiing profitable there. He also worked several other jobs during his retirement.
Norman was a gourmet cook and loved to spend time with friends. He had
many parties on Beech Mountain that will never be forgotten by those privileged to be invited. He spoke multiple languages and traveled the world. In the last years of his life he learned Portuguese and spent many months in Brazil with his dear friend, Gilvandro.
He is survived by a cousin, Jed, several nieces and nephews; Gilvandro
and very close friend, Loretta. Norman was a true gift to his friends. He always went
out of his way to do things for those he cared for and will be missed by all who had the
honor of knowing him.
Norman will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.