Stanley Leo Smith was born on September 14, 1932, in Rocky Ford, Colorado to Leo & Ruth Smith. Shortly after Stan was born the family relocated to the Phoenix area so Leo could farm with his cousin, Dean Stanley. A few years later, Leo went out on his own and bought the original Sky Harbor Airport located at 59th Avenue & McDowell Road. Leo & Ruth turned this property into their family farm and raised their children, which included Stanley and two sisters. Stanley attended Cartwright School and often rode his horse to and from school, which was a mile each way. Stanley learned at an early age the importance of hard work, as his childhood was full of chores. A few examples of Stan’s daily chores included starting a fire in the wood stove and milking the family cow morning and night, along with many other chores from living on a working farm. He had a dog named Shep who was his constant companion in all his labors. He shared stories about guarding the family’s harvested grain throughout the night with an unloaded shotgun, a lantern, and of course Shep.Stan attended Phoenix Union High School and Glendale High School before attending The University of Arizona in Tucson. He thrived in college. He was in ROTC, a roper on the U of A Rodeo Team and joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. He enjoyed life away from the farm, making friends and having experiences he would treasure his whole life. The most lasting legacy of his time in Tucson was meeting the love of his life, Marilyn Lawson. Marilyn was a cute blonde, a Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority member, and ultimately his wife and best friend. They were married after Stan graduated college on August 16, 1954, and enjoyed 61 years together. After their wedding, they moved to Luke Air Force Base where Stan served his country for two years in the United States Air Force. Stan was a wonderful and faithful husband as Marilyn endured many health struggles. He was always by her side, comforting her. Unfortunately, her health struggles contributed to her poor cooking, but Stan was proud of the fact that he consumed her meals and never complained about the quality! After Stan’s military service, they bought a house on 20th Avenue in Phoenix. This home is where they raised their young children, Tim and Leslie. Stan also started farming with his dad, Leo, and the family bought a farm next to the Goodyear Airport. Leo soon retired and Stan began farming on his own in Goodyear. To help Stan keep his equipment yard safe in Goodyear, he had his guard dog Mooch. Mooch would only allow Stan or Tim near the property. Stan was an exceptional farmer, regularly producing some of the highest cotton yields in Maricopa County. These results required meticulous and dedicated management, to which Stan devoted all his energy. During this time, Stan gave back to his industry by serving on the Roosevelt Irrigation District Board of Directors, until he retired from farming.
Shortly after starting their farm in Goodyear, Stan & Marilyn built a home in Litchfield Park on Villa Nueva. They used the brick from the original farm on 59th Avenue & McDowell (Sky Harbor Airport), for the fireplace of their new home. They thoroughly enjoyed their new home and their time in Litchfield Park, with Marilyn busy playing bridge and enjoying her garden club and Stan immersed in the daily farm responsibilities. Marilyn’s health improved, which allowed them to enjoy their lives and each other’s company.In the late 70’s, Stan & Marilyn bought a rustic cabin in Bear Flat, outside of Payson on Tonto Creek with a beautiful meadow and fabulous view of the Mogollon Rim. The renovation of their cabin and the maintenance became the focus of their retirement. Stan & Marilyn also became world travelers. You would be hard pressed to come up with somewhere they did not go, and they enjoyed every minute of their adventures. Their favorite traveling companions were Stan’s sister and brother-in-law, Mary Ann & Frank Hunt. They enjoyed their camaraderie immensely over their many adventures. Their grandchildren also were a big part of their lives. Adventures in Bear Flat, picnics in Litchfield Park, rides on the lawn mower, singing the Star-Spangled Banner solo for $20 and of course “Touched You Last.” Stanley passed from this world on the morning of December 26, 2023. Stanley is preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Marilyn Lawson Smith, sister and brother-in-law, Pat and Gay Curtis, brother-in-law Frank Hunt and grandson Bryan Smith. He is survived by his sister Mary Ann Hunt, son Tim Smith (Terry), daughter Leslie Ann Smith Rousseau (Will), grandchildren Stafford Smith (Kari), Kristin Rousseau Latham (Aaron), Lindsey Rousseau Hunt (Brett), Jenna Rousseau Addler (Patrick), Dustin Smith (Laura), Brooke Smith, and Chad Smith. Great-grandchildren Stella, Isabel, Clara, Sadie, Amelia, Stanley, Elsie, Brody, Westin, and Ben. The family will have a private interment for Stan on January 13, 2024, followed by a private celebration of his life.
Just remember, Pops “Touched You Last!”