Ralph Wayne Smart was born January 22*, 1915 in Clinton, Custer Co., Oklahoma - the fifth surviving child of George Joseph SMART and Lora Vale EDGAR. He had three older brothers and an older sister when he came along. He would be followed by another sister and brother.

* He celebrated his birth date as the 20th all his life without ever suspecting it. Apparently he got it wrong when first working for the railroad. From that point on, the company records served as his source--not having his birth certificate lying around.


GEDCOM (decendants)


I was born Ralph Wayne Smart on Jan. 20, 1915, in Clinton, OK. There were five boys and two girls, though one boy died when he was small.

My first memories are of Greenacres, WA around 1919. After Greenacres, we moved to Vancouver, WA for a short time. Soon after that, my dad bought an entire ranch (80 Acres) called Half Moon Prairie, 12 miles north of Spokane. We raised lots of fruits and vegetables and sold them in Spokane. In 1925, we bought a brand new Ford truck (Model-T). That's what we used for hauling the vegetables and fruit to Spokane. Before we bought the truck, we used a wagon. The truck had hard rubber tires instead of the soft, inflatable used now. Can you imagine how it must have felt to hit a bump? The ranch also had cattle. I remember two of them wandering onto the Great Northern Railroad track and getting killed. I think they paid us $100 for them. Growing on the ranch were every kind of apple and cherry you had ever heard of.

My oldest brother, Clifford stole some of the produce money and went to OK to visit relatives. We had no idea where he was until my aunt wrote and told us he was with family there. I thought it was the end of the world without my brother. He just wanted to visit relations.

About 1928, we moved to Wenatchee, WA. Instead of asphalt on the streets, they had wooden blocks on end. I remember when it rained, the blocks would soak up the water and make the road all lumpy. When it dried, the road would look like wooden bricks again. We soon moved 9 miles south to Squillchuck Canyon. I went to school there for 6th through 8th grade. We no longer had a car, and the school (high school) was too far away for me to attend, so I never went. Because my parents were both ill, I had to work. I worked around Wenatchee for 10 years and married Beatrice Winn. We moved to Madera in California.

In Madera, I had a job on a ranch. I worked there for quite a while. After that, I went to work for Southern Pacific Truck Lines [Pacific Intermountain Express - PIE]. In 1942 I went to work for the Southern Pacific Railroad. I worked for several years until I finally decided to buy a grocery store/service station.

Dad's Store by Ralph Dewayne Smart (oldest son)

It was right on the rivers edge of the Madera River and was a Texaco station. As I remember during those times there was much credit given and seems Dad was always getting stiffed for the charges. I remember riding my bike to the store and helping dad stock the shelves. 

After one year of that, I sold it and went back to work for the railroad. Bea and I had 4 sons, Dewayne, Jack, Randy and Gary. We lived in California until 1975, and then we moved to Sequim, Wa--just Bea and I. No kids. There, we lived at 381 Dungeness Meadows. Bea died in November of 1982 from [stomach] cancer.

I married Marsella Merrick in May of 1983. As of 1998, Dewayne lives in Quincy, Illinois, Jack lives in Port Angeles, WA, Randy lives in Grover Beach, CA. and Gary lives in Sequim, WA.


Somewhere it was said that Ralph was born at Cloud Chief, OK. But this seems unlikely.

Map of area

His early life in Oklahoma would be interrupted when his father become ill and lost the farm. So, in 1917 he was whisked off to Collville, Washington while only about two years old. The family moved in with his mother's relatives.


After the family moved to Washington, Ralph attended school at Greenacres, Half Moon Prairie and Wenatchee. He never go too far along but managed to learn what he needed to know.

He was notorious in school for his practical jokes and got into his share of trouble.

As the family was poor, Ralph found jobs whenever he could. His father grew fruits and vegetables and took the kids to town when it was time to sell them.
Looks like it was cold in Washington.

For a short while, he worked for one of the oil companies as a service station attendant.

These years were the depression years so any work was good work to Ralph. Yet he never seemed to get over the effects of it and maybe that was a good thing.

Here is Ralph goofing around with his younger sister, Helen. The picture from a photo album he kept during the time Helen, Bea and Ralph grew up together. They met Bea often in the park in Wenatchee, where she watched her younger brothers. Helen and Ralph were very close through life until Bea passed away. They never talked after that.

Bea also kept a photo album during those days.


Ralph married Beatrice Emily Winn at Wenatchee, Chelan Co., Washington, November 15, 1939.

Miss Beatrice Winn of Wenatchee and Ralph Smart of Orondo repeated their wedding vows to the Rev. H. S. Will at his home at seven o'clock Wednesday evening.

Mr. And Mrs. Ervin Schaefer of this city were their attendants. The couple will establish their home here. [marriage certificate]


It wasn't long before the first child arrived.

Ralph Dewayne Smart was born on August 20, 1940 in Madera, Madera County., California.

He would later serve in the United States Navy and in the US Air Force. He now lives in Quincy, IL. He is active in the Mormon Church.

Contrary to what the Wenatchee paper said, Ralph & Bea moved immediately to Madera, California. He worked about 6 months on a fruit ranch and in grape vineyards where his brother Cliff secured him work pruning and picking.

But Ralph soon found a job with Pacific Intermountain Express and later Southern Pacific Railroad as a clerk. He was to follow this career for most of the rest of his life, quitting once for a short period to try his hand at the traditional Smart line of work--selling fruit and vegetables in his own store.

That summer (July, 1940) Ralph went to work for the Northern Pacific Railroad.

Ralph's mother, a widow since 1934, moved to Madera. Several of his brothers moved there also for a while. The family visited from Washington when they could as Lora (Mom) stayed in Madera until shortly before her death.

Ralph grew up as an orchardist. He knew fruit trees well. Up to this point in his life, his world revolved around fruit trees--pruning, watering and picking.

Even his venture into the railroad world was via Pacific Fruit Express which hauled fruits and vegetables to market via trains and Pacific Intermountain Express which did the same thing via trucks.

Estle (Ralph's younger brother), Lora Vale (their mother), and Ralph in an orchard near Madera. After Oklahoma and Washington, The San Joaquin Valley must have seemed like Eden to them.

Jack Orin Smart was born on May 10, 1944 in Madera, Madera County., California.

He was a Yeoman in the Navy, stationed on the USS Ranger aircraft carrier at the same time as was his brother, Dewayne. He would also serve as a fireman in Merced, California for many years before moving to Port Angeles, Washington.

Ralph's truck. Probably his first truck.

About 1950, Ralph & Bea bought a small farm at 927 Dalton, Madera, Madera Co., California. Here they are in the front of the house.

They raised beef and pork and a few vegetables.

Randy Curtis Smart came along on September 8, 1951

Randy Curtis Smart was born on September 8, 1951 in Madera, Madera County., California--the third boy. Was Ralph ever going to get the daughter he so desperately wanted?

He would latter serve in the US Air Force.

Ralph grabbing some grapes near Madera.

In the old days, he was a Chevrolet owner. Ralph liked Volkswagens from the time they were introduced in California in the early 50s. He owned several over the years.

Gary Alan Smart was born on October 15, 1953 in Madera, Madera County., California--the event Ralph referred to as "the final disappointment"--he wanted a girl so bad. But this was to be his last child.

Gary served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War. He was stationed in Cambodia for a time as well as Travis AFB in California, and at Luke AFB in Arizona. He was a parachute packer and upholsterer.

After his discharge, he moved to Sequim, Washington and began an upholstery business, specializin in boat tops.

The family, sans Dewayne (taking the picture?) prepare to head home after a camping trip to Rock Creek in the Sierra Nevada mountains east of Fresno.


Ralph at the ticket counter in the Southern Pacific train depot at Merced, California.

Although Ralph was bounced around California as a union clerk with the Southern Pacific Railroad, he spent most of this time in Merced earlier then Tracy later.

This is the house they bought in Atwater at 398 Elm St. around 19__.

The house originally had redwood siding but Ralph bought aluminum siding during the craze. They added on--building in the garage to accommodate Bea's mother, Cecil Clements, who would live with them for many years.

About 1963, they made the move to Tracy, California. Ralph had been working there for years but now it looked like he could count on being there a while as he had enough seniority to avoid being bumped again.

They then bought an acre lot about a mile and a half out of town at 13280 W. Bryon Road. The place is now (2008) within the city by a large shopping center. They were to live here about 11 years. They held the papers a long time after that before they buyer made good on it.


Ralph retired from the Southern Pacific Railroad in the spring of 1974 and lived a part of a year out of Vanderhoof, B.C. They were trying to decide where they wanted to retire. At the time, they owned a large piece of land in Canada.

Ralph and Bea settled on Sequim, Washington for their retirement, bought a lot there and put a mobile home on it.

Retirement really agreed with Ralph. He would have many years to enjoy this part of his life. Regrettably, Bea would only live five more years.

Christmas 1979 in 381 Dungeness Meadows, Sequim, Washington.
On the golf course near their home in Sequim. Ralph picked up golf when he retired, playing regularly on the nine-hole course where he lived. Even when his eyes were bad, he would chase a ball around when the sun was out and he could find it (or someone else's).
The inside of their home in Sequim.
With Estle and Lavern. This was probably at Lavern's place which was just across the street from Dad's in Dungeness Meadows, Sequim. Helen also retired to Sequim and they all lived within a few doors of each other in Dungeness Meadows.
[Marcella pic]

On April 9, 1983, five months after Bea passed away, Ralph married a widow in the local Mormon Church, Marcella MERRICK in the Seattle Temple, King Co., Washington.

Marcella died _____________ after a long illness. Ralph tended her side, taking the bus each day to the care facility where she was watched by a nurse.

In his latter years, Ralph developed trouble with his eyes. Immaculate [macular] degeneration, I believe he called it, in jest.

His vision became blurry. Other than the blindness, his health held up remarkably well and he was able to live comfortably at home even when single. But, about the time he was 91, he decided it was time to move into a retirement home.

He lived to almost 93 when his heart failed him one evening. His last wish was granted him--he died suddenly and painlessly one evening after a busy day of visiting friends.


Ralph would get on a plane or train with notes and phone numbers on a lanyard around his neck. The steward would see that he was comfortable, and family would pick him up and take care of him during each leg of a trip.

His last trip was to granddaughter, Robyn's wedding in Atlanta, Georgia. Dewayne picked him up at the airport and then sent him home afterwards.





Death Certificate Gravestone - Gravesite Mt. Angeles Memorial Park & Cemetery 45 So. Monroe Rd., (off Highway 101) Port Angeles, WA (360) 452-6255
Obituary - Peninsula Daily News


Notice - Peninsula Daily News Obituary - PDF format (in case PDN looses it)