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Walter M. Smith ( NIFC 1971 )

posted: Sep 30, 2004

Walt Smith, 52, died Jan. 23, 2000,at St. Patrick’ Hospital in Missoula. He jumped from Boise through 1973, Missoula from 1974 to 1977, and again in ’79, ’80 and ’84, then from Redding in ’94. He was raised in Hamilton, Montana. After graduation from Hamilton High School, he enlisted in the Marine Corps from 1966-68 and served as a rifleman in Vietnam, receiving two Purple Hearts. He graduated from the University of Montana in 1973 with a bachelor’s in sociology. His love of the outdoors led to a long career in the U.S. Forest Service first as a trail crew member, then smokejumper. Walt volunteered for many years on the ski patrol and loved fishing, hiking, hunting and mountain biking. He retired in August 1997 as an assistant fire management officer for the Bitterroot National Forest.