Leland G. Smith: Well-Known Southern Humboldt Man Passes Away

This section includes both obituaries and memories. Honoring our loved ones who have died does not end immediately after their passing. We recognize that… so we’re extending our obituary section to include individuals who may have left a long time ago. If you want to remember someone who is gone, either recently or longer ago, please send a photo and a few sentences to mskymkemp@gmail.com. Tell us why you would like to honor the person–is it their birthday, the date of their passing or some other date of significance to you.

Leland Smith


Leland G. Smith born September 12, 1920 of Miranda, Ca. passed away in Oregon on Nov.7 2016. He was a valued member of your community.

Leland G. Smith and wife

Gladys and Leland

Hero of the Second World War, Leland was in charge of the famed Hickam Field in Hawaii. It was the only airfield to get two planes in the air to mount the defense. It’s also where he met Gladys Hope Vaghn who became his beautiful bride on Aug. 23rd 1945.

He helped build many of America’s ( and the world’s) greatest mega-structures i.e. hydroelectric dams power plants, etc. including Kashmir Pass hydro dam in Pakistan. At age 12, Leland and a friend introduced the microwave oven to world at the 1932 World’s Fair in San Francisco. He introduced several of Humboldt Co.’s citizens and charity groups to HAMM radio operators. In the aftermath of the 1980’s earthquake grandpa used his HAMM radio tower to locate members of many local families who were in the city.

His family have resided in Miranda since 1839; they were the Logan family. His Aunt Janie Logan founded the first post office, and named the town for a grandmother. Many local and American dignitaries hail from his family line. He is survived by his wife Gladys, sons Philip and wife Rhonda their children and grandchildren in Oregon, son Doug Smith and his children Jennifer Martin, Jessica and Tim Tietz and David Smith, grandchildren Kira and Morgan Martin, Mariah Willis and Timmy Tietz and his adopted brother, Richard Smith of Chico. He is preceded in death by his parents Doug and Helen Smith, his son Bobby, sister Joy, grandson in- law Brian Martin and his sons Doug’s late wife Bertie Jean.

He was my hero and I miss him terribly. A strong, brilliant honorable man who taught his family values and sometimes hard lessons about life and ethics. There will be a memorial at Stevens Hall in Miranda in the coming weeks. Contact Doug Smith at 707-223-3930 for more info.



  • My condolences to the family. “Smitty” as I knew him was one of my most admired people. He was very intelligent and also wise. I miss our visits when he came to town. With his deep roots and mine we are surely related somewhere in this South Fork canyon. We have lost a great history resource. So long old friend, and fare thee well.

  • RiP condolences to the family .

  • So many great and wonderful people live here,and lived here.my condolences to the family.god bless

  • RIP ‘Smitty’, W6CLG, W6CuteLittleGirls…My condolences to the family, Smitty was one of the best and I’m honored to have known him. He’s a ‘silent key’ now…

    Dan, WD6AOJ

  • My condolences to the Smith family….Smitty was one of the people who introduced me to HAM radio many years ago, when we used to meet monthly in the old barn Ken Reynoldson owned at the location of the current Cedar St. Senior Housing.
    Nancy Peregrine KB6LAD

  • God Bless Leland’s family at this time of loss. As a Veteran, be sure to contact the local Garberville VFW for military services and honors for Leland. Thank you for serving your Country honorably and faithfully.

  • Thanks to all of you for remembering my grandfather here…

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