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Paul Smith, a life long resident of Condon, Oregon, passed away at the Regency Redmond Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, on Wednesday morning, July 11, 2018 after battling complications of diabetes for many years.
Paul was born in The Dalles, Oregon on November 19, 1954 to Dr. and Mrs. P.C. Smith. He joined his sister, Jeanne, in a household of strong personalities and unreserved opinions, blessed with love, laughter, friends, and faith. From an early age, his father encouraged Paul to hunt and fish, enjoy outdoor living, and practice mechanical skills that developed a strong sense of self-reliance. His mother, Pauline, nurtured an ability to participate in conversation and offer hospitality to those with whom he interacted.
Paul attended primary and secondary schools in Condon. During his studies, Paul forged a unique identity and life long friendships, which he capably maintained well beyond high school graduation in 1973. He attended George Fox University, earning a Bachelor degree in Psychology in 1977 as he concurrently attained an Associate degree at Portland Community College, in Welding.
The next phase of his life saw Paul’s return to Condon for work and to assist his aging parents, whose failing health challenged their desire to remain in their home. Paul approached all his endeavors as adventures. As river guide on the John Day River, working at the elevator for Condon Grain Growers, spending a summer digging a water line in Alaska, as Gourmet Harvest Chef “Extraordinaire”, Paul endowed his work with humor and enthusiasm. Paul’s years as an elected member of the Condon City Council were no less of an adventure for him, and likely, his constituents.
When Paul’s parents passed, Paul embarked on a new adventure. Accepted to Yeshiva University in New York City, borough of the Bronx, he studied and achieved a Master’s degree in Social Work. The “war zone” of 1980’s Bronx, ravaged by poverty, crime, and addiction, strengthened Paul’s devoted vocation to those in need. He assimilated the words of his namesake, the Apostle Paul: “so, faith, hope, love remain, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
With a Masters in Social Work in hand, Paul returned to Condon to work for several local agencies, the last of which was as Medical Social Worker with the Morrow County Home Health and Hospice.
The desert is an academy for prophets. Paul often traveled with his nephews on lengthy road trips to Arizona and New Mexico. In the deserts of the Southwest, Paul experienced the familiar, yet enhanced...a harsh, arid earth of stark beauty, enveloping quietude, and the eccentricities of the inhabitants of this land.
On his last seven years of life, Paul embarked on his ultimate adventure, as he confronted complications from diabetes and high blood pressure that led to renal failure and dialysis. He became nearly blind and suffered an amputation. He addressed this final adventure with determination, at times good heartedly, and with fierce independence.
At the end of his life, lack of necessary health care required that Paul relocate to Central Oregon. He was greatly blessed to be in Redmond, the home of his lifelong friend from kindergarten days, Bill Trumbull, who devoted his attention and companionship to Paul, providing hours of joy in the final months of his life.
Paul is survived by his sister and her husband Drs. Jeanne and Ed Berretta of Port Angeles, Washington; a niece and nephews, Gretchen Berretta-Viglione and husband, Stefan; Matthew and wife, Yulia, Vincent and wife Dida, and Nicholas; two great nieces, Courtney and Elise, and a great nephew, Jayden.
With his sister and close friends present, Paul was buried beside his parents in the Condon Cemetery on Friday, July 13, 2018. A memorial service is planned for September 8, 2018 at the United Church of Christ at 1 p.m., with a gathering to follow in the fellowship hall.