Remembering an industrial giant

October 14, 2004


I can't tell you how many people have stopped me on the sidewalk to

tell me how much they'd enjoyed reading about some of their former

teachers and how little they knew about them and wished they had

gotten to know them better.

This week, we are going to look back at a man who taught

industrial arts at both Huntington and Marina high schools. I hope


some of you remember Dale Smith, and hopefully some of his wisdom

rubbed off on you.

Dale's parents were farmers in the rural town of Roseburg in the

state of Oregon. It was in this small town that Dale Winston Smith

was born in 1904.

I know of some kids today that balk at walking a few blocks to

school. Dale would have to travel seven miles to school and seven

miles back over a dirt road.

After completing grammar school, Dale would continue his education

in Roseburg's high school. While in high school, he would become the

school's basketball team manager and, more than once, inspired his

team to win the state's basketball championship.

After school was out in the afternoon and during summer vacations,

Dale worked doing maintenance work at a local road construction camp,

and he also worked at a logging camp.

After he graduated from high school Dale enrolled at Oregon State

in 1923. He received his bachelor's degree in 1928 after five years

of hard study.

Dale came to California, where he studied at Hemphill trade school

in Los Angeles for six months. To earn money for his studies, Dale

took a job at a Firestone Tire & Rubber Company service store in of

all places, Brawley. Now if you have ever traveled through Brawley in

the summer, you would think that the heat would have melted the tires

off the cars.

He attended UCLA, and it was there that he would earn his teaching

credentials. For three and a half years, Dale would remain with the

Firestone company. They had him working from Brawley all the way to

Long Beach.

It was during this period of his life that he met Betty Bourhill,

a home economics teacher at Huntington Beach High School. The

relationship blossomed into something more, and Dale and Betty were

married up in Portland, Ore., on July 10, 1936.

Now with a wife, Dale worked evenings at the Douglas Aircraft Co.

In 1941, their twin daughters, Joan and Jean, were born and he began

teaching auto shop and welding classes at a local high school. In

1944, he became an industrial arts department head with a staff of

eight instructors under him.

He taught industrial arts to many of our youngsters at Huntington

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