Lt. Col. Richard Andrew “Andy” Smith, U.S. Air Force (retired), died unexpectedly at Baylor Scott and White Hospital on May 6, 2020. Andy was born on July 25, 1931, in Gatesville, Texas, the only son and middle child of Isaac Ray “Son Ray” and Felice Boyd Smith. Andy grew up on the family ranch near Kingsland in Llano County, Texas. He attended the Buzzard’s Roost school near his home and went to Llano High School, from where he graduated in 1948.
Andy first attended college at John Tarleton Junior College in Stephenville, Texas. He was a member of the Army ROTC program. It was there that he met his wife, Betty Jo Bryan. After completing two years at Tarleton, Andy transferred to East Texas State Teacher’s College in Commerce, Texas, because they offered Air Force ROTC.
Andy and Betty were married in September 1952 in Olney, Texas, and made their first home in Commerce. He graduated in the spring of 1953 with a degree in agriculture-animal husbandry and left immediately to attend flight school at Bartow AFB in Bartow, Florida.
Andy served in all three commands of the Air Force: SAC, TAC, and MAC. During his career, he piloted various airplanes, including the T3 trainer, B29, C123, KC135, and T28. He accumulated over 10,000 flying hours in the KC135. He was stationed in California, New Mexico, Texas, North Carolina, the Philippines, Oklahoma, and Kansas. He also served a tour of duty in Da Nang, Vietnam. He served his country for 21 years, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel, and received numerous military decorations, awards, and commendations while serving in the U.S. Air Force. He retired to Topeka, Kansas, in 1974.
Andy had a second career in Topeka as the director of transportation for the Auburn Washburn Rural School District (USD 437), where he was known as “Dick” Smith. Andy and Betty relocated to Llano in 1989 to help run the Smith family ranch.
Since relocating in Texas, Andy and Betty have run the ranch, been active members in their community, and have hosted many friends and family as they passed through Llano. Andy was a member of Lutie Watkins Memorial United Methodist Church, where he was active in the men’s prayer breakfast and the American Legion.
Andy is survived by his wife, Betty, of 68 years, and their two children, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren: daughter Andra and husband Bill Harris of Marble Falls; grandchildren Courtney Velek (Aaron Velek), Emily Mendoza (Steven Mendoza) and Andrew Harris (fiancé Allison Moore); and great-grandchildren Taylor Velek, Wyatt Velek, and Kaylen Mendoza; and son Bryan and wife Jenise of Georgetown and grandchildren Marisa Smith and Kyle Smith. He is also survived by his sister Sallye Baker of Llano and numerous nieces and nephews.
Andy was a devoted husband, father, and friend. He could entertain you for hours with stories and tales about growing up on the ranch and his time in the Air Force. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends.
A memorial service is planned for early June. In lieu of flowers, the family requests you donate to a charity or church of your choice.
Funeral arrangements made under the direction of Waldrope-Hatfield-Hawthorne Funeral Home, 307 E. Sandstone in Llano, 325-247-4300. Condolences may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.