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Frederick Parker Smith Obituary

Brought to you by Powers Funeral Home

Frederick Parker Smith

Puyallup, Western Australia

December 23, 1937 - May 29, 2024

Frederick Parker Smith Obituary

On December 23, 1937, in a chilly sod house in Nebraska, Frederick Parker Smith entered the world as the second child of Philip and Verna Smith. Anyone who knew Fred during his 86+ years, knows that from that moment on, he believed that life was meant to be lived. From his humble beginning, Fred built a life that exceeded even his expectations, touching many people’s lives along the way. Known for his ferocity in the courtroom, his intelligence in his legal practice, his generosity with his friends, and his love for his family, Fred was always a force to be reckoned with. When Fred was young, the family of five moved across the country to Vancouver, Washington, packed into a 1935 Ford with a homemade trailer behind. Leaving the Dust Bowl Midwest, they hoped to find a better life in the Pacific Northwest. Growing up in the rural community of Hazel Dell, Fred worked on the family acreage, hustled a large paper route, and through odd jobs, became quite a hand with a hammer and a wrench as he grew into his own through high school and junior college. When he entered the University of Washington and pledged Delta Chi fraternity, he was well on his way to becoming the outspoken, confident, funny, and larger than life personality we all knew and loved. After graduating with a degree in History, Fred began teaching middle school English and History, which reflected his two greatest academic passions. Within a year, he added the study of law at Gonzaga to his full teaching day. Fred’s first child, Eric Parker Smith, was born the year Fred graduated with a Juris doctor and the small family left Spokane and headed across Snoqualmie Pass. Settling in Puyallup, Fred joined Jacobs and Jacobs, an established law firm. After a number of years in partnership, Fred opened his own office just down the block. Believing that “unless you’re the lead dog, the view never changes,” Fred staffed the office and rented out the individual spaces, encouraging the other attorneys to create their own paths, while he mentored and encouraged them. During this time, the family grew to include daughters Erin Elise (Smith) White and Emily Brynn (Smith) Steinke. Fred became the original “staycationer,” as his thriving law practice kept him close to Puyallup and his clients. Never wanting his family to lack for fun and activities, Fred created joy and opportunities close to home. His first leap was to go out on a limb and borrow $13,000 to purchase a beach cabin at Dash Point in 1969, which would serve as the family gathering place for multiple generations. His love of water extended to installing an indoor, in-ground pool at the family home on 5th Ave. SW (quite a feat for the high-water table Puyallup Valley!), where decades of pool parties and merriment ensued. As his beloved wife Sandy was passionate about tennis, Fred led the charge to create the Puyallup Valley Tennis Club. With extended family, he helped acquire a mountain cabin at White Pass, where the family spent winter weekends skiing together. Although Fred was never a Black Diamond guy, he was happy to watch as Eric whizzed down the challenging slopes and he never complained when Erin begged to trade her cold and wet gloves for his warm ones. During the summer, the family lived the “no shoes summer” life at the self-renovated Dash Point cabin, only leaving for occasional trips up and down the West Coast or family yacht cruises in the San Juan Islands. Fred loved to comb the beach for agates on the family walks in the evenings, tumbling the stones to brilliance in his workshop the following winter - a tradition he would continue long enough for it to be a treasured memory for his grandchildren, as well. Fred’s passion for cars, boats, and motorcycles added even more joy, as a collection of them always accompanied him. In the summer, you could find him behind the wheel of a ski boat, pulling all manner of kids and conveyances behind, or taking family and friends clam digging and picnicking up and down Puget Sound. A calm evening might find him standing waist deep in the cold Sound as he helped the kids start the little outboards on their hydroplanes. The motorcycles were synonymous with the mountain cabin, and after running alongside Emily as she learned to ride her Honda 50, the family would take off together to explore the trails. Initially chauffeuring Sandy and kids in his fully restored 1932 Packard, multiple Packards followed over the years. Of course, Fred’s “daily drivers” were never boring, either, as Fred loved to be behind the wheel and he could do it well…and fast! Fred delighted in the roar of an engine and the wind in his face, and was happiest when he was looking over the bow of his boat, cruising with his family on their motorcycles on the forest service roads around Packwood, or driving one of his convertibles, whether it be a Corvette or a Packard. Sadly, in the prime of his life, Fred lost his best friend and wife of 30 years, Sandra Jane (Greves) Smith to cancer. At just 54, despite his grief, Fred showed his inner resiliency and continued to put into practice his pursuit of living each day to the fullest. After finding a balance with his clients, he decided it was time to travel. Never one to do anything halfway, Fred visited dozens and dozens of countries around the globe, drove across the United States, reveled in a “Taste and Tours” driving group of old high school friends, visited Erin and family in the various locations the Air Force stationed them, and loved every single minute of it. Upon each return home to Puyallup, Fred would fill and share multiple photo albums, and lovingly deliver the treasures he brought back to his children, and eventually grandchildren, Madeline (White), Slater (Smith), Baker (White), and Parker (Smith). Later, he delighted in taking the entire family on all-inclusive trips and continued the tradition of hosting family and friends during summers at the beach. Despite his globetrotting, he loved his home state of Washington and would often tell strangers that he could “live anywhere in the world, but he chose to live in God’s Country.” Fred truly loved the law and it’s doubtful that he ever would have retired, but for the stroke that cut his practice short when he was 69. Always an advocate for the little guy, happily taking on big city firms or “Uncle Sam,” Fred was proud of the fact that he never had to advertise. Over the years, Fred’s clients benefitted from his willingness to look for any angle and think outside the box, his unquestionable honesty, and his perseverance. Many families have Fred to thank for his real estate and estate planning knowledge and legal expertise. Even in his last months, after dementia had stolen the brilliance from him, he never stopped giving advice where he could! In his retirement, Fred slid naturally into the role of doting grandfather, always present at holiday celebrations and family gatherings, a continuous fixture at the beach house at Dash Point (the host of two generations of carefree summers), and a person you could always call. He never failed to let you know he “had your back,” for whatever you needed. He attended horse shows and car races, dance recitals and graduations, and always made sure his family knew that they were the most important thing in the world to him. His laughter was contagious, the sparkle in his eye omnipresent, and no matter where he was or what he was doing, he always had jelly beans, Red Vines, or a chocolate to share, “as a little nibble.” While Fred may be gone, he will never be forgotten. The family values he instilled, the love he openly shared, and the wisdom he imparted will live on through those blessed to have called him Dad, Papa, Friend. He is survived by his loving children: Eric (Kristin) Smith, Erin (Ted) White, and Emily Steinke, his four fabulous grandchildren, and his sister, Cathy St. Claire. Fred will be buried next to his wife at Woodbine Cemetery in Puyallup on June 10, in a graveside service for immediate family. A celebration of life to honor Fred and the wonderful life he lived will be held on August 16, 2024 from 5 pm to 9 pm at the Brown’s Point Improvement Club in Tacoma, Washington. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Washington State Fair Foundation, as Fred enjoyed supporting their scholarship program, or to the Friends of the Puyallup Public Library, a place the avid reader frequented weekly.

To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of Frederick Parker Smith hosted by Powers Funeral Home.

On December 23, 1937, in a chilly sod house in Nebraska, Frederick Parker Smith entered the world as the second child of Philip and Verna Smith. Anyone who knew Fred during his 86+ years, knows that from that moment on, he believed that life was meant to be lived. From his humble beginning, Fred built a life that exceeded even his expectations, touching many people’s lives along the way. Known for his ferocity in the courtroom, his intelligence in his legal practice, his generosity with his friends, and his love for his family, Fred was always a force to be reckoned with. When Fred was young, the family of five moved across the country to Vancouver, Washington, packed into a 1935 Ford with a homemade trailer behind. Leaving the Dust Bowl Midwest, they hoped to find a better life in the Pacific Northwest. Growing up in the rural community of Hazel Dell, Fred worked on the family acreage, hustled a large paper route, and through odd jobs, became quite a hand with a hammer and a wrench as he grew into his own through high school and junior college. When he entered the University of Washington and pledged Delta Chi fraternity, he was well on his way to becoming the outspoken, confident, funny, and larger than life personality we all knew and loved. After graduating with a degree in History, Fred began teaching middle school English and History, which reflected his two greatest academic passions. Within a year, he added the study of law at Gonzaga to his full teaching day. Fred’s first child, Eric Parker Smith, was born the year Fred graduated with a Juris doctor and the small family left Spokane and headed across Snoqualmie Pass. Settling in Puyallup, Fred joined Jacobs and Jacobs, an established law firm. After a number of years in partnership, Fred opened his own office just down the block. Believing that “unless you’re the lead dog, the view never changes,” Fred staffed the office and rented out the individual spaces, encouraging the other attorneys to create their own paths, while he mentored and encouraged them. During this time, the family grew to include daughters Erin Elise (Smith) White and Emily Brynn (Smith) Steinke. Fred became the original “staycationer,” as his thriving law practice kept him close to Puyallup and his clients. Never wanting his family to lack for fun and activities, Fred created joy and opportunities close to home. His first leap was to go out on a limb and borrow $13,000 to purchase a beach cabin at Dash Point in 1969, which would serve as the family gathering place for multiple generations. His love of water extended to installing an indoor, in-ground pool at the family home on 5th Ave. SW (quite a feat for the high-water table Puyallup Valley!), where decades of pool parties and merriment ensued. As his beloved wife Sandy was passionate about tennis, Fred led the charge to create the Puyallup Valley Tennis Club. With extended family, he helped acquire a mountain cabin at White Pass, where the family spent winter weekends skiing together. Although Fred was never a Black Diamond guy, he was happy to watch as Eric whizzed down the challenging slopes and he never complained when Erin begged to trade her cold and wet gloves for his warm ones. During the summer, the family lived the “no shoes summer” life at the self-renovated Dash Point cabin, only leaving for occasional trips up and down the West Coast or family yacht cruises in the San Juan Islands. Fred loved to comb the beach for agates on the family walks in the evenings, tumbling the stones to brilliance in his workshop the following winter - a tradition he would continue long enough for it to be a treasured memory for his grandchildren, as well. Fred’s passion for cars, boats, and motorcycles added even more joy, as a collection of them always accompanied him. In the summer, you could find him behind the wheel of a ski boat, pulling all manner of kids and conveyances behind, or taking family and friends clam digging and picnicking up and down Puget Sound. A calm evening might find him standing waist deep in the cold Sound as he helped the kids start the little outboards on their hydroplanes. The motorcycles were synonymous with the mountain cabin, and after running alongside Emily as she learned to ride her Honda 50, the family would take off together to explore the trails. Initially chauffeuring Sandy and kids in his fully restored 1932 Packard, multiple Packards followed over the years. Of course, Fred’s “daily drivers” were never boring, either, as Fred loved to be behind the wheel and he could do it well…and fast! Fred delighted in the roar of an engine and the wind in his face, and was happiest when he was looking over the bow of his boat, cruising with his family on their motorcycles on the forest service roads around Packwood, or driving one of his convertibles, whether it be a Corvette or a Packard. Sadly, in the prime of his life, Fred lost his best friend and wife of 30 years, Sandra Jane (Greves) Smith to cancer. At just 54, despite his grief, Fred showed his inner resiliency and continued to put into practice his pursuit of living each day to the fullest. After finding a balance with his clients, he decided it was time to travel. Never one to do anything halfway, Fred visited dozens and dozens of countries around the globe, drove across the United States, reveled in a “Taste and Tours” driving group of old high school friends, visited Erin and family in the various locations the Air Force stationed them, and loved every single minute of it. Upon each return home to Puyallup, Fred would fill and share multiple photo albums, and lovingly deliver the treasures he brought back to his children, and eventually grandchildren, Madeline (White), Slater (Smith), Baker (White), and Parker (Smith). Later, he delighted in taking the entire family on all-inclusive trips and continued the tradition of hosting family and friends during summers at the beach. Despite his globetrotting, he loved his home state of Washington and would often tell strangers that he could “live anywhere in the world, but he chose to live in God’s Country.” Fred truly loved the law and it’s doubtful that he ever would have retired, but for the stroke that cut his practice short when he was 69. Always an advocate for the little guy, happily taking on big city firms or “Uncle Sam,” Fred was proud of the fact that he never had to advertise. Over the years, Fred’s clients benefitted from his willingness to look for any angle and think outside the box, his unquestionable honesty, and his perseverance. Many families have Fred to thank for his real estate and estate planning knowledge and legal expertise. Even in his last months, after dementia had stolen the brilliance from him, he never stopped giving advice where he could! In his retirement, Fred slid naturally into the role of doting grandfather, always present at holiday celebrations and family gatherings, a continuous fixture at the beach house at Dash Point (the host of two generations of carefree summers), and a person you could always call. He never failed to let you know he “had your back,” for whatever you needed. He attended horse shows and car races, dance recitals and graduations, and always made sure his family knew that they were the most important thing in the world to him. His laughter was contagious, the sparkle in his eye omnipresent, and no matter where he was or what he was doing, he always had jelly beans, Red Vines, or a chocolate to share, “as a little nibble.” While Fred may be gone, he will never be forgotten. The family values he instilled, the love he openly shared, and the wisdom he imparted will live on through those blessed to have called him Dad, Papa, Friend. He is survived by his loving children: Eric (Kristin) Smith, Erin (Ted) White, and Emily Steinke, his four fabulous grandchildren, and his sister, Cathy St. Claire. Fred will be buried next to his wife at Woodbine Cemetery in Puyallup on June 10, in a graveside service for immediate family. A celebration of life to honor Fred and the wonderful life he lived will be held on August 16, 2024 from 5 pm to 9 pm at the Brown’s Point Improvement Club in Tacoma, Washington. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Washington State Fair Foundation, as Fred enjoyed supporting their scholarship program, or to the Friends of the Puyallup Public Library, a place the avid reader frequented weekly.

To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of Frederick Parker Smith hosted by Powers Funeral Home.

Events

Event information can be found on the Official Obituary of Frederick Parker Smith.